Ravens Defensive Coverage, Tackling Must Be Addressed


The numbers aren't pretty for the Ravens defense after the first two weeks of the season.

Baltimore has allowed 808 total yards to the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles, with 592 of those yards coming through the air.

The brunt of the damage came in Sunday's loss to the Eagles, where quarterback Michael Vick threw for 371 yards and tight end Brent Celek hauled in eight passes for 157 receiving yards.

"That has to be addressed," Head Coach John Harbaugh said on Monday. "We didn't do a good job of covering him, obviously. It wasn't so much that the tight end, per se, got free, it was more issues with our coverage, the way we handled some of our basic coverages."

Celek found soft spots in the Ravens defense throughout the game and Vick kept feeding him the football. Celek's 157 receiving yards are more than the Ravens allowed to any receiver since Oct. 24, 2010, when Stevie Johnson burned the Ravens for 158 yards.

Also, only once all of last season did the Ravens give up more passing yards than Vick had on Sunday.

"For different reasons, different coverages that are fundamental coverages, we got skewed a little bit," Harbaugh said. "We got skewed chasing some routes. We got skewed chasing Michael Vick scrambling at times. It created imbalances in our coverage and I think they took advantage of that with their tight end."

Celek wasn't the only target to have a big day, as Desean Jackson finished with 114 receiving yards and Jeremy Maclin had a clutch 23-yard touchdown grab.

"I just think they had a great game plan," cornerback Cary Williams said. "They came out, and you win some and you lose some."

Another issue with the Ravens defense was the number of missed tackles, which Harbaugh partially attributed to facing talented players like Vick and running back LeSean McCoy.

Still, he said that the defense has to play better in that area.

"It was a higher number of missed tackles, I think mostly due to the fact that that's the way those guys run," Harbaugh said. "Against the Eagles, I think the missed tackles percentage on most teams is going to go up.

"Same token, I expect us to be a great tackling team. I expect us to be the best tackling defense in the National Football League, and that's something that we definitely have to chase."

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