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Dean Pees: Defense A Little Ahead With Less Turnover


Think the Ravens offense is going through big changes this summer?

Remember what the Ravens defense underwent last year?

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed weren't the only departures (although they were big ones). The Ravens defense lost seven of its 11 starters from Super Bowl XLVII.

This year, the Ravens have lost three defensive starters and four impact pieces: defensive tackle Arthur Jones, cornerback Corey Graham, linebacker Jameel McClain and safety James Ihedigbo.

While the Ravens defense has gotten an injection of youth and speed, it hasn't had all that much turnover as compared to a year ago.

Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees says the unit is ahead in its preparation.

"Maybe a little," he said.

"We had an awful lot of guys here for football school. We had a really good turnout – that helps, too. By the time we got done with that, going into OTAs, we had kind of been through everything and then repeating everything, and now we're adding a few more things. So maybe [we're ahead] slightly. Maybe a little bit."

The Ravens have three remaining starters from the Super Bowl XLVII roster: outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

"[Head Coach John Harbaugh and I] were talking about the depth chart, and we looked up there, and boy, there were a lot of guys that are young," Pees said.

The Ravens gave a lot of young defenders playing time last year, which will pay dividends in 2014.

First-round pick Matt Elam started 15 of 16 games. Second-round linebacker Arthur Brown played on the nickel defensive packages. Third-round defensive tackle Brandon Williams and fourth-round outside linebacker John Simon saw action in seven games each.

"The good thing about these young guys is that they've all come in and contributed," Pees said. "We don't have as much turnover this year – even though they are young guys … it's like having all those young guys have really been able to compete."

The Ravens drafted three more defenders with their top three picks this year in linebacker C.J. Mosley, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and safety Terrence Brooks. While there's less turnover, the changes keeps coming.

"There are always goods and bads when you have the [roster] turnover," Pees said. "There's always a little bit of time for those guys to develop, but also, just like every team goes through it, you can't keep the same guys forever.

"[With] the guys that we've drafted, I think it's going to be great competition. I think it's only going to get better."

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