3 major changes to Baltimore Ravens defense

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

2. Baltimore Ravens are playing more zone coverage

What made a Wink Martindale such a signature defense was the combination of blitzing with man coverage. He came at you up front, and he left his guys on islands in the back end. The thought was that the blitz would make life easier for those cornerbacks.

However, when Ja'Marr Chase can win in a split second, and Joe Burrow can beat the blitz, any cornerback stuck on an island is liable to give up a huge play. This is what ended up costing the Ravens recently. So, the team is moving towards more zone coverage.

In the last season with Martindale as defensive coordinator, the Ravens had 40% man coverage, one of the highest rates in the NFL. Essentially, only Brian Flores was running more man on the back end over that time. Last season, the Ravens' man-coverage rate dropped down to 24%, which is closer to the bottom 10 in the NFL. Again, that is a pretty big flip.

The New York Giants were one of the highest-rated man coverage teams last year, so it is clear that this was Martindale leading the push, and perhaps John Harbaugh wanted to see more zone.

Still, to go from a top five-man coverage team to the bottom ten over the course of a season is a significant jump. There is a real chance that the Ravens will be one of the most zone-heavy teams in the NFL next year, as the transition becomes more complete.