Bill Belichick, Tom Brady On What Makes Ravens Defense So Good

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As Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said this week, the Ravens have had a great defense for a long time.

But Baltimore hasn't brought a top-ranked defense up to Foxboro before.

So as the Ravens and New England Patriots get ready to square off on Monday Night Football at Gillette Stadium, Brady and Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick broke down what they see from Baltimore's defensive unit.

"They contest every yard. That's the mark of a good defense," Brady said. "They don't give you anything easy; you've got to go earn it. I think they do a good job with their scheme and personnel."

"Outstanding on defense," Belichick added. "It's pretty simple. You have to drive it, and if you can't convert on third down and you don't get big plays, then it's hard to score."

The Ravens have the league's best third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert just one-third of the time. The Ravens are fourth in the league in big plays allowed. They've given up just 36 plays of 20 yards or more.

And the trouble that teams have in marching the length of the field is that they can't run the ball against Baltimore's No. 1-ranked rush defense allowing just 73.8 yards per game. That puts offenses in third-and-long situations.

Asked what Baltimore does specifically well, Belichick said, "pretty much everything."

"Tough to run against, very good on third-down, don't give up a lot of points, turn the ball over," he said. "You just can't be sloppy around this defense. You have to take good care of the football and you've got to be physical with them. They've got some big, strong guys up front."

Belichick and Brady are both known for pouring over opponents' game tape. Belichick said Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees keeps opponents off-balance, and safeties Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb are good at disguising one type of coverage and playing something else.

But the straw that stirs the drink is outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who Brady raved about despite the perceived hostility between the two players. The two have yelled at each other on the field and Suggs still refuses to call Brady by his name. Suggs did give Brady credit for his all-time wins record this week, however.

"He's been a great player for as long as he's been in the league," Brady said. "He just does a lot of things really well. He's got all the rush moves, he drops into coverage, he bats down balls, he [crushes] the tight ends coming off the line of scrimmage. It's not just sacking the quarterback like most defensive ends. He makes plays in a lot of ways.

"He has great instincts and plays with those instincts. If he thinks the ball is going inside, he rips inside and 99 percent of the time the ball goes inside. You can't ever count on the same thing from him. You have to play him straight up and see what he's going to do."

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