Baltimore Ravens: 3 keys to winning the AFC North in 2019
2. The pass rush finding the opposing quarterback
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There’s no gettiing around the question mark that has become the pass rushers of the Baltimore Ravens. There’s no more Terrell Suggs. There’s no more Za’Darius Smith. Now Matt Judon is the only proven commodity the Ravens have at outside linebacker. Jaylon Ferguson, who the Ravens drafted a couple of weeks ago, has big time potential. Ferguson could be the next Terrell Suggs in Baltimore. Suggs was an instant impact player as a rookie, but there’s no promise that Ferguson will hit the scene like that. Suggs was a top 10 pick. Ferguson was a third round pick from a smaller school. It’s one thing to be excited about Ferguson going into his rookie year, it’s another thing to depend on him.
The Ravens lost two productive outside linebackers this offseason. Even if Ferguson has a defensive rookie of the year worthy campaign, Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser have to take a step up. The good news is that necessity is the father of invention (so the saying goes). Bowser and Williams have to step up this year or they will be classified as draft busts. They don’t have the same competition in their way.
There is no longer an excuse for them. They will get their chances to shine and they better do it. If one of them doesn’t take a huge step up the Ravens lack of pass rush could hinder an otherwise great defense. The Ravens have a championship caliber secondary, but the pass rush has to come with it.