Ravens 2016 Defense Playing Like Legendary Defenses Of The Past
Baltimore's defensive dominance so far this season is reminiscent of some the great units the Ravens have boasted throughout their proud and legendary history.
We don't know the complete story of the 2016 Ravens defense because seven games are remaining, and some of those matchups will come against the league's top offenses (Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots). And to really be considered among the best units in franchise history, it must advance to the playoffs and do some damage there.
But it's been a decade since we've seen a defense finish the season with the type of rankings this year's unit is boasting through nine games. Below is a table of all the Ravens defenses that finished third or better overall since 2000.
|Year||Total Defense YPG||Rushing Defense YPG||Passing Defense YPG||Points Per Game||Third-Down %|
|2011||3rd (288.9)||2nd (92.6)||4th (196.3)||3rd (16.6)||2nd (32.1%)|
|2009||3rd (300.5)||5th (93.3)||8th (207.3)||3rd (16.3)||11th (36.7%)|
|2008||2nd (261.1)||3rd (81.4)||2nd (179.7)||3rd (15.3)||3rd (33.5%)|
|2006||1st (264.1)||2nd (75.9)||6th (188.2)||1st (12.6)||1st (28.8%)|
|2003||3rd (281.0)||6th (96.0)||4th (175.3)||6th (17.6)||2nd (29.4%)|
|2001||2nd (277.9)||4th (88.2)||8th (189.7)||4th (16.6)||3rd (30.8%)|
|2000||2nd (247.9)||1st (60.6)||8th (187.3)||1st (10.3)||5th (34.1%)|
"[I]t certainly appears that this Ravens team is intent on adding to the defensive legacy that has contributed so mightily to the success of the franchise over the past two decades," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck.
Nobody would dream of comparing this year's unit to the 2000 Super Bowl-winning unit. And 2006 would be tough to beat too.
"It could go down as being the third [best Ravens defense]," Hensley told WBAL Radio's Brett Hollander Friday.
"I'm saying that because of [Thursday's] game where I can't remember in recent memory them having such a complete game in terms of only allowing 144 yards, the three turnovers, the sacks, the Browns averaging 2.5 yards rushing. I mean, it was complete domination. … One thing about the Browns, they have struggled defensively. Offensively, they've moved the ball well this year. For the Ravens to do that against the Browns team, they moved up in my eyes, where I thought they went from just an underrated defense in this league to one of the top defenses in this league."
Hensley says one thing that makes this year's unit so special is its mindset. He cited safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Jimmy Smith when noting how the defensive players believe they must carry the team to victory and even the playoffs.
"I totally agree," Hensley said.
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was asked how this year's defensive unit stacks up to all the great defenses he's been a part of, and he said it can't be compared yet because those defenses went to the playoffs. This unit still has to prove it can do that.
"Thus far, the defense has been the glue that has held this season together and might have to do even more to put the Ravens in a position to make the playoffs," wrote Schmuck.
"So, what else is new?"
Ravens' AFC North Lead More Comfortable After Bengals' Loss
Boy, Week 10 of the NFL season was really good to the Ravens.
Not only did they notch their second win in five days against two AFC North opponents, but rivals Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals dropped both their games too.
The latest was the Bengals, who were defeated, 21-20, on Monday Night Football by the New York Giants. The Ravens were already in sole possession of the division lead, and the Bengals gave them a little more cushion.
Could Yanda And Lewis Be Placed On Injured Reserve?
We may find out what life will be like without both Ravens' starting offensive guards.
Head Coach John Harbaugh announced Monday that rookie Alex Lewis will likely miss six weeks with a high ankle sprain. He wasn't as clear with Marshal Yanda's status (shoulder), who has missed three of the last four games.
Harbaugh said there were no immediate plans to put Lewis on injured reserve, seeing as there are only seven games of the season, but The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec isn't ruling out either of the guards heading to that list.
"Both offensive linemen could go to injured reserve, a circumstance that would present another challenge for the Ravens to overcome," Zrebiec wrote.
Arena Football Coming To Baltimore
It looks like the Ravens won't be the only football team in Baltimore anymore.
CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment Ted Leonsis, who is majority owner of the NHL's Washington Capitals and NBA's Washington Wizards, announced Monday that he is bringing an arena football team to Charm City in 2017.
"The new, yet-to-be-named Baltimore team will play in the 14,000-seat Royal Farms Arena," wrote The Baltimore Business Journal. "The AFL schedule runs between April and August."
The team will be given a name in the next 30 days.
"I want to show commitment to the league, commitment to our players, commitment to the city of Baltimore," Leonsis told WTOP radio.