Grading the 2022 Ravens defense at the bye week

Ravens (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ravens (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens currently boast one of the most talented defensive units in the league, though the group hasn’t exactly been the most consistent so far this season.

Once considered one of the most frustrating liabilities on the team, the Ravens’ secondary has soared to new heights and (fingers crossed) has remained mostly healthy through nine weeks.

This is not the same pass defense that ranked 32nd in the early stretch of the season, and it’s a relief to see the unit finally start to gel and help the team win games.

Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters have each embarked on redemption campaigns after suffering serious injuries last year, and those two have been playing at a Pro Bowl level in recent weeks.

Kyle Hamilton, one of the most highly touted defensive rookies of the league in 2022, has steadily been improving in coverage and gains more confidence game after game; even with Marcus Williams out, the Ravens’ backfield has maintained a high standard thanks to Chuck Clark and Geno Stone.

After a rough start to the year marked by multiple fourth-quarter collapses, the Ravens’ pass defense has finally stepped up and shown its mettle against good opponents.

The Baltimore Ravens’ defense struggled early but should see massive improvements

As for the rest of the defense, the Ravens sorely need to see a jump in production from both their inside linebacker corps and outside linebacker corps. Patrick Queen, who leads the team in tackles, still hasn’t improved as much as Baltimore would have liked in 2022 — the addition of Roquan Smith should help anchor the unit and ease the pressure on Queen.

Another slight disappointment has been Odafe Oweh, who was expected to put together a more productive second season yet has stayed relatively quiet through nine games.

The outside linebacker group should benefit from David Ojabo getting healthy and Tyus Bowser easing his way back into games, but the first half of the season was ugly for this unit.

Oh, and we didn’t forget about Justin Houston, who played a game to remember against the Saints and poses as the Ravens’ most reliable pass-rusher at the moment.

The top-performing unit on defense is no doubt the defensive line: Justin Madubuike and Calais Campbell have been making big plays every game, and the team’s interior defensive linemen already have eight sacks on the year. Baltimore is currently ranked No. 3 in run defense, so no complaints here.

The Ravens’ defense we saw at the beginning of the season is vastly different from the defense we saw at the halfway mark, and that massive improvement alone means more than any arbitrary grade.

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If we had to give the defensive unit a collective score for its performances thus far, it would be a C+. Hopefully, the team learns a thing or two about consistency by the end of the year.

Grade: C+