The vaunted Baltimore Ravens defense as we knew in the past as the bone-crushing, fearless, intimidating unit that has ruined many days for opposing offenses over the last decade and a half may be over. The Ravens have given up at least 335 yards per game in each of the last four seasons including the 2015 season. The Ravens play a "bend but don't break" defense which allows a lot of yards between the pair of 20 yard lines on the field. But the problem is, those bend but don't break defenses have allowed points which the Ravens have been on the wrong end of in late games.
Under Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees since 2012, Ravens have lost nine games in which they had the lead in the fourth quarter including the latest loss against the Oakland Raiders. Here is what Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had to say about the defense via baltimoreravens.com after last week in week two.
“It’s on us as coaches to put the right guys out there, teach them to do the right things and have the right schemes in place. If guys aren’t lining up right, that’s on us. That’s on them and us. It’s on us together – all of us – coaches and players together. It’s our job to get that fixed. It’s not the fans’ job. It’s not the media’s job. It’s our job, and we need to get it done. We expect to play great defense around here, and that’s just not what we did on Sunday.”
While Harbaugh said the he needs to do better and the players need to do better as well, Harbaugh was also putting Pees on notice. Players have been frustrated with themselves, Ravens fans have been frustrated with the performance of the defense from time to time over the last four seasons. There were frustrations about the defense even when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012. How long can the inconsistencies on defense continue? The Ravens pride themselves on being physical. And the way they played against the Oakland Raiders, it was anything but physical.
It's just weird how the Ravens can be so good against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in week one and hold Manning of all people to no touchdowns and allowing only 12 points on the day. And then, they come right back and allow 37 points to the Raiders led by quarterback Derek Carr.
So the question remains. Are the Ravens as good as they played against the Broncos on defense in week one? Or are they as bad as they played in week two? They are somewhere in the middle. But ultimately, players have come and gone on the Ravens defense. Only four players remain on defense from roster that won the Super Bowl in 2012. Sooner or later, Pees is going to have answer to the problems this unit faces. It doesn't get any easier as the Cincinnati Bengals roll into town in week three.