Baltimore Ravens pass rush will be much improved in 2020
The Baltimore Ravens pass rush was nothing to write home about in 2019, but their 2020 counterparts are going to rewrite that script.
A good pass rush opens a lot of doors for a team. It can mask a weak secondary and win games when opponents are forced to pass the football. It truly can make a huge difference in tight games and you typically see teams that can effectively rush the passer win championships. The Baltimore Ravens have historically had a pretty good pass rush, but that wasn’t the case in 2019.
In fact, the team’s lack of effective pass rush is one of the biggest reasons they couldn’t win it all last year.
Baltimore finished with a pedestrian 37 sacks in 2019, 21st in the entire league. Matt Judon led the team with 9.5 sacks and earned a Pro Bowl nod for his performance, but he needed help. The next closest in sack production was Tyus Bowser with a career-high five sacks. That’s a solid number, but not nearly good enough to be second on any team.
More from Ebony Bird
- Will Baltimore Ravens tender Tyler Huntley?
- Ranking 5 teams most likely to trade Baltimore Ravens for Lamar Jackson
- Will these comments impact Lamar Jackson and Baltimore Ravens talks?
- 3 Biggest Needs for Ravens in NFL Draft
- Ravens’ Super Bowl odds stagnant amidst Lamar Jackson trade rumors
To fix this problem, the Ravens were ultra-aggressive in the early part of the offseason. It started with franchise tagging Judon to ensure he didn’t leave the team in 2020. Holding on to their sack leader was crucial for fixing this problem.
Then, there was a trade for Jacksonville Jaguars Pro Bowler Calais Campell. Campbell finished with his lost sack total since 2016 with 6.5, but that still would’ve been second-place in Baltimore. Campbell is also a different kind of pass rusher in that he’ll do a lot of his work with a hand in the dirt. This is something unique for the Ravens, as their pass rush has typically come from their edge rushers.
Baltimore again added a pass rusher to their defensive line in the form of Derek Wolfe. Wolfe is coming off a career-best seven sacks in 11 games played in 2019 for the Denver Broncos. Wolfe has a pedigree for playing tough, hard-nosed football and will fit nicely into what the Ravens like in their defenders. He’ll team up with Campbell to give this defensive line some juice it hasn’t seen in quite some time.
While Baltimore did forgo drafting an edge rusher in the 2020 NFL Draft, they did add two more defensive linemen in the forms of Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington.
To cap off the makeover, the Ravens brought back Pernell McPhee, a move that should be seen as an absolute win. McPhee had three sacks in seven games played in 2019 and was looking to have a solid season before injury (triceps). His return gives Baltimore a solid edge-rushing duo between McPhee and Matt Judon. With those two on deck and solid depth that includes Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson, you have yourself an edge-rushing core that is above-average. Once you factor in the additions of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe and you have a pass rush completely reborn.
Rushing the pass was something the Baltimore Ravens desperately needed to improve upon in 2020. It’s fair to say they were able to accomplish that this offseason. If these moves pay their dividends there’s no telling how great this defense can be. With an offense set to score points at will, a redesigned pass rush and elite secondary gives the Ravens a title-contending team.