2. Is there enough pass rush?
The big question facing the Ravens defense really lies with the defensive front. The Ravens ended up with four sacks, yet their pass rush wasn’t consistent throughout the game. There were a lot of clean pockets for Watson in this game and the stats don’t save Baltimore from facing the reality that they’re not making things hard enough for the quarterback they’re facing. The Ravens also don’t seem any less dependent on the blitz. Patrick Queen may not have gotten a sack in this game but he continues to look the part as a blitzing linebacker. Chuck Clark and Marlon Humphrey both got a half sack in this game, DeShon Elliott and Calais Campbell each notched one sack under their belts as Ravens. That means that only one of those four sacks came from the outside linebacker position.
The good news here is that Tyus Bowser, who played fairly well in this game, had his second consecutive game with a sack. The bad news is that Matt Judon didn’t join him in the box score. Judon did come close to a sack, and quarterback pressures do count as impact making plays, yet there is a difference between impacting a play and straight up making one.
The Ravens need more out of their outside linebackers than they are getting. It’s good that Don Martindale can scheme pressure. Nobody wants that to stop. That being said the whole point of the offseason was to build a defensive line that would allow the outside linebackers to make more of an impact and to be dominant up front. Campbell is fitting in well as a Raven and he’s playing well, the vision of this defense isn’t lining up with what they’re getting. It’s good, it’s not as good as it should be and that’s the rub.
The Ravens need to create a more hostile pocket on a more regular basis. The defensive line needs to step up. Derek Wolfe needs to get going as more than just a run stopper. The line as a whole needs to be able to get more push and collapse the pocket a little more on their own. That should help the outside linebackers as we’ve been talking about all offseason. At a certain point however, the outside linebackers, the edge rushers, they are the players we need to see take the next step. If the Ravens don’t get more production and more pressures from this position group, it’s a very notable problem.