The Ravens have long been known for their run defense.
And Head Coach John Harbaugh stressed how important it is that doesn’t change this year.
Baltimore surrendered 129 total rushing yards to the Cincinnati Bengals in their first regular-season game without injured outside linebacker
That’s 36 more yards than the Ravens allowed on average last year when they finished as the second-ranked run defense in the NFL.
Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis logged 91 rushing yards on 18 carries, giving him a 5.1-yard average. He scored on a 6-yard, fourth-down touchdown run after bouncing off a couple of Ravens defenders.
“We’ve got to stop the run better on first down, without question,” Harbaugh said immediately after the game. “We did not do a good job with that.
“There were a lot of second-and-threes, third-and-ones and that’s going to be tough to defend no matter what you do, so I think it starts with that.”
After watching the game tape, Harbaugh’s stance didn’t change.
Asked how important it will be to tighten up the run defense going forward, Harbaugh said “very important.”
“Run-defense is critically important,” he added. “It’s a staple for us. It’s how we base our whole philosophy defensively. That’s where it starts, and we’re going to have to do it. It was all very correctable stuff. That’s the good news.”
The Ravens have ranked in the league’s top five in rush defense the past six seasons.
“It was just little minor technique errors on our part that we can fix, we should fix,” Harbaugh said. “Probably guys trying to do more than they actually should try to do, and [they need to] continue to have confidence in the guys around them a little more.”
One player who shined was linebacker
“He was all over the field,” Harbaugh said. “He’s moving really well, he’s still physical at the point of attack.”