The Ravens will host a dominant secondary and a massive defensive line in 2018, but it’s the edge rushers who will steal the show this season.
Baltimore has always been blessed with great edge rushers. Terrell Suggs and Peter Boulware are the obvious names, but we’ve also had studs like Adalius Thomas and Elvis Dumervil terrorize quarterbacks in their times. While the Ravens have had decent production from the edge rushers over the last few seasons, it’s 2018 that will see the revival of the dominant pass rush we’ve come to know in Baltimore.
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Last season, the Ravens got 19.0 sacks from their top two edge rushers, Terrell Suggs (11.0) and Matt Judon (8.0). Behind them, however, there wasn’t too much help. Za’Darius Smith was solid, but we wasn’t anything more than a role player. Tyus Bowser flashed, but was inconsistent throughout the season. Kamalei Correa and Tim Williams were complete non-factors in 2017.
This narrative looks to be in for a drastic change in 2018. Through four preseason games in 2018, the Ravens have 17 team sacks, including a team high 3.5 sacks from Correa. Williams has had 2.5 sacks over the last three weeks, and Suggs and Judon look like the bookend starters they were in 2017. This spells trouble for the rest of the AFC.
But it’s not just sacks, the edge rushers all also forcing turnovers. The team collectively has six forced fumbles and have nabbed seven interceptions through the 2018 preseason. This isn’t a coincidence that the totals are skyrocketing with such a dominant pass rush in front of the defense.
The 2017 Ravens defense had 41 sacks and 16 forced fumbles, as well as 22 interceptions. The turnovers are outstanding, and that trend should continue into 2018. However, we are more focused on those sack numbers. 41 is a solid number, but with how the defense has played thus far in the preseason, 41 sacks should be viewed as disappointing. After all, the Ravens are on pace for 68 sacks through a 16 game preseason schedule!
Baltimore has been looking for their future edge rushers with Suggs nearing retirement. The team appeared to have one spot locked down with Judon’s performance. But with the way the team has performed thus far in 2018, the Ravens defense might have quite a few different options to choose from moving forward. The regular season is just one meaningless preseason game away from beginning, and right now we are all waiting in anticipation of this revived pass rush.