Patrick Queen splits with and without Roquan Smith on Baltimore Ravens

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When the Baltimore Ravens traded for Roquan Smith, it had a noticeable impact on the entire defense. However, one player in particular who saw the implications was Patrick Queen. The start to his third season was ho-hum, but by the end of the year, it was the best of his career.

Patrick Queen splits with and without Roquan Smith on Baltimore Ravens

One obvious factor was that Roquan Smith took control of the defense and was the play caller. He saw things before the snap and read the offense so that Queen did not have to. It allowed Queen to react and not think, and in-turn, he ended up playing a lot faster.

Overall, his PFF grade was 59.8 through eight weeks of the season. In the last eight games, his grade shot up to 76.7, and he finished his 2022 season with a 69.7 grade. It is clear that there was a difference in how he played from week nine through the end of the season.

His pressure rate improved from 21% in the first eight games to 23% during the back half of the season. Even more notably, his run-stop rate shot up from 5.3% to 7.4%. This essentially is the ithe flip of someone right around 50th in run stop rate, then flipping a switch and playing like a top 20 run defender from the trade on.

One of the biggest areas f struggle for Patrick Queen has been his coverage ability. However, even that improved once Roquan Smith was added. He went from allowing 8.4 yards per target down to 6.5 yards per target. He also went from allowing a reception once every 7.2 snaps up to allowing a catch every 9.9 snaps. He was being tested less in coverage, and when he was tested, he lived up to it.

Some will think this is good news for Queen, and it may be true in the sense that 2023 has the chance to be his best season. However, in terms of his long-term relationship with the Baltimore Ravens, this may hurt things.

It speaks to his actual ability If he struggled so much before the addition of Smith. If Smith can make any player next to him better, and Queen is not good enough without Smith, then the team has to be thinking that by paying up for Smith, they can get cheap with his secondary partner.

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Patrick Queen will want to use the improved play as a reason to make more money, but the Ravens will see the same play and say that is why they do not want to pay him.