Two aspects of the Ravens’ defensive performance in Denver were especially disturbing.
One, they got their top corner back but it didn’t matter.
That’s a huge plus for a defense. It’s the reason a blue-chip corner is so valuable. Taking away one side of the secondary means you can concentrate on the other half, putting more people in a smaller area.
But that geometry didn’t work for the Ravens in Denver. Manning still picked apart the rest of the Ravens secondary, throwing for 462 yards and seven touchdowns over
The defense also succeeded in stuffing
Stopping the run has been the first commandment of the Ravens defense for more than a decade, going back to when Marvin Lewis was in charge. The rationale is simple, logical. If you can stop your opponent on the ground, you make them one-dimensional, limiting what they can do to try to beat you. In the NFL, any offense supposedly is in trouble when the defense knows what’s coming.
The Ravens succeeded in putting
What does it mean that the Ravens defense had those two things going for it – its best corner back, Denver’s run game stopped – but still experienced a nightmare
I asked Harbaugh on Monday if stopping the run was even important anymore against a high-test pass-happy offense such as
Harbaugh insisted that stopping the run was still crucial.
“If you don’t stop the run, it makes it really impossible to stop the pass,” he said. “Our issue was the big plays. You can’t give up a screen for a touchdown. That’s just not acceptable. You can’t leave guys wide open. You can’t miss tackles that turn into big plays. You can’t turn guys loose in the red zone. You can’t do it.”
The Ravens certainly hope the
The Ravens penciled in their secondary as a strength, but its problems in
On Monday, Harbaugh said he expected significant improvements starting with Sunday’s home opener against
“We can really improve back there going forward,” he said. “Obviously, we have to. That kind of performance, in the end, is never going to be acceptable. We’re capable of playing far better than that, and we have to.”
If they’re going to, they need to start by taking better advantage of what’s going right, i.e., having their top pass defender back and stopping the run.