On Now
Coming Up
  • Mon., Jul. 11, 2016 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM EDT Junior Ravens Cheerleaders Camp

    Designed to focus on specific competitive cheer skills, Junior Ravens is the perfect camp for competitive cheerleaders! Participants will have the chance to perform at our annual Fireworks Night during Training Camp at M&T Bank Stadium.

  • Wed., Jul. 13, 2016 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM EDT Lil Ravens Cheer Camp At the 2016 Ravens Cheerleaders Lil Ravens Summer Camp kids will enjoy activities and crafts including, individual cheerleading instruction, performance opportunities, autographs from the Ravens Cheerleaders, and an end-of-camp all-day celebration.
  • Mon., Aug. 01, 2016 7:00 PM EDT Training Camp Military Appreciation Day The first M&T Bank Stadium practice will take place on Monday, Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. This practice – free and open to all fans – coincides with the Ravens’ annual Military Appreciation Day. Approximately 3,500 special seats will be reserved for active service members and veterans who present valid military identification upon check-in at the stadium.
  • Sat., Aug. 06, 2016 6:00 PM EDT Training Camp Fireworks Night On Saturday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m., the second M&T Bank Stadium practice will showcase the organization’s third-annual Fireworks Night, an event highlighted by post-practice autographs for children and a fireworks/laser show.
  • Fri., Sep. 09, 2016 5:00 PM EDT Countdown To Kickoff Party Presented By Miller Lite Grammy Award®-nominated rock band 3 DOORS DOWN will perform at the Ravens Countdown to Kickoff Party Presented by Miller Lite on Friday, Sept. 9 at Maryland State Fairgrounds. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. Open to all ages.
  • Sat., Dec. 10, 2016 2:00 PM EST Army vs. Navy Football Don't miss one of the greatest events you can ever attend! The Army-Navy Game presented by USAA returns to M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, December 10, 2016

News

Print
RSS

Eisenberg: One Wish From Football Genie

Posted Nov 6, 2012

If you could snap your fingers and fix just one of the Ravens' problems, what would it be?


Let’s say you’re a football genie, able to make one wish come true for your team. Which of the Ravens’ problems would you snap your fingers and fix?

The leaky pass defense? The home/road disparity? The intermittent offensive outages?

Those are all important, but I would fix the run defense, currently ranked No. 28 in the league.

Of all the issues that have surfaced while the Ravens have won six of their first eight games to start 2012, their inability to stop opposing running backs figures to cause the biggest headaches going forward.

Sure, the offense’s problems also could wreak havoc. Sunday’s mystifying 30-minute drought without a first down almost turned a win into a loss in Cleveland. The run of stalled drives was the product of an array of different breakdowns – a missed block here, a penalty there, a dropped pass here, another missed block.

But take a closer look at the offense’s numbers. Even though its up-and-down play has caused plenty of consternation both within and outside the organization, the Ravens are still ranked in the top half of the league in both rushing and passing. They have scored over 20 points in every game but one.

In other words, while the offense might not be steamrolling every defense, as some thought it might, it is still doing enough to win most games. On Sunday, for instance, while it maddeningly blacked out for half the game, it also put together touchdown drives of 70, 86 and 65 yards. That was enough to win.

The defense isn’t playing at the same level against either the run or pass. It is ranked No. 22 in the latter category, a forbidding figure considering the elite quarterbacks looming on the schedule – both Mannings, Big Ben twice, Philip Rivers.

But woes against the run are the unit’s most pressing concern.

After allowing another hundred-yard game to Cleveland’s Trent Richardson Sunday, the Ravens are yielding an average of 139.5 yards per game on the ground. That’s an astounding 47 yards more yards per game than a year ago, and almost 20 more yards per game than the Ravens have ever yielded on average in a season.

The Ravens have truly gone from the penthouse, No. 2 in the league against the run last year, to, well, whatever the bottom represents. And it’s causing problems.

Stopping the run has been job one for the defense going back to when Marvin Lewis was in charge here. For years, the Ravens have lived off the theory that you were halfway home if you could stop your opponents in one phase and make them one-dimensional.

But the opposite has been true this year as Richardson, Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles and Dallas’ DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones have gashed the Ravens on the ground. Opposing offenses have seldom been in third-and-long situations or under heavy pressure. It’s no wonder they’ve prospered. Smooth sailing on the ground has made it easier to pass.

If I’m a genie with one fix to apply, I couldn’t impact the Ravens’ prospects more than by bringing some mettle back to the run defense. It would immediately help the pass defense, too.

But of course, no genie is going to bail the Ravens out. They’re going to have to do it themselves, find a way to get better at stopping the run.

It isn’t going to be easy. Haloti Ngata is playing through injuries, seemingly unable to dominate. Pernell McPhee also is injured. Guys such as Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Terrence Cody, Arthur Jones and rookie DeAngelo Tyson are left to build the interior wall, and they’re struggling, looking overmatched at times.

The good news is they did improve as Sunday’s game unfolded. Richardson gained just 29 yards in the second half after picking up 76 in the first half. Terrell Suggs’ return should help (he also plays the run well), Dannell Ellerbe is doing a nice job replacing Ray Lewis, and Courtney Upshaw is becoming more effective as the season unfolds. Tackling, an issue earlier, was improved Sunday.

One way or another, the Ravens need to make the fix. The impact on the team’s overall level of performance would surprise you.

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Related News

Recent Videos

Recent Photos