Ravens need to turn to youth on defense


After losing their fourth game out of five, it’s easy to point fingers at what ails the Baltimore Ravens. This season, a once proud defense has crumbled in the face of multiple injuries and general ineffectiveness. Once feared, this unit isn’t stopping anyone right now.  Not even the “mighty” Josh McCown.

After five weeks, the Ravens sit in the basement of the AFC North and are a daunting four games out of first place.  There’s still a chance that they go on a run and put themselves back in a position to fight for a playoff spot of course, but it sure isn’t a good chance (more on that in a bit).

This week, the Ravens’ defense blew two fourth quarter leads to the NFL’s 20th ranked offense and allowed Josh McCown to throw for 457 yards.  That makes five 4th quarter leads they have blown this season, and the Ravens have given up more points (137) in five games than at any other point in team history.

The secondary has been downright awful, and the Ravens suffered even more injuries in that unit this week.  Cornerback Will Davis suffered what appeared to be a serious injury, and Lardarius Webb left and never returned to the game despite a probable tag.

With linebacker Elvis Dumervil departing for good with an injury of his own, it leaves the Ravens in a bit of a bind.  Sitting at 1-4, a mark where only 5% of NFL teams have ever rebounded from to make the playoffs, this is a team that has to buck history to save its season.

Aug 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (17) makes a move against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tray Walker (25) during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The ever mounting injuries, coupled with this harsh reality, leaves the Ravens in a perfect position to develop their youngsters and see if they can help right the ship.  Some vets, like Kyle Arrington, have proven that they aren’t the answer.

No, it’s time to play guys like Tray Walker, Terrence Brooks, and Zach Orr.  Draw up some plays for your young and talented guys like Maxx Williams.  Give them a chance to shine and try to give Ravens fans some hope for the future.

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There are already some glimmers of hope.  Rookie linebacker Za’Darius Smith received 63 snaps this week and had an up and down performance.  Carl Davis has shined when given the opportunity, but has mostly played in run support.  Give the big man a chance as a pass rusher and see what he can do.

Walker has barely played at all, and Brooks saw action in the nickel this week after the Webb and Davis injuries.  The team has been high on Orr for a while now, so perhaps it’s time to see what he can do on defense.

All of these guys will make mistakes along the way, but even the “veterans” are playing sloppy right now. The difference?  These youngsters are the future, and we need to find out what their ceiling is.  We already know what the vets can do, and so far it hasn’t been much.

Next: Ravens week 5 stock report

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