Ravens Want More Interceptions From Secondary


The Ravens were trailing the Colts by 10 points in the third quarter and badly needed a play.

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck went deep, trying to hit receiver Hakeem Nicks on a double move. Ravens rookie safety Terrence Brooks wasn't fooled, and got a hand in on the play. But he didn't see fellow safety Darian Stewart coming from the other side to make what should have been an easy interception.

The two Ravens violently collided, leaving Brooks in pain and the ball on the turf.

This is the kind of play Head Coach John Harbaugh would like to see made.

While Haloti Ngata's two interceptions so far this season are welcomed, having a defensive tackle leading the team in picks is not a good sign.

The Ravens secondary doesn't have an interception through five games so far this year. They are the only team in the league that hasn't gotten a pick from a defensive back.

"Defensively, we did a really good job. We didn't give up anything over the top," Head Coach John Harbaugh said, crediting the safeties' and cornerbacks' improved play.

"We had a chance for some interceptions. Those are the things you want to start seeing now. Let's catch the ball back there when they throw it up like that, and we can do that."

The Ravens made two interceptions Sunday, one by Ngata and another by rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. Harbaugh said there were three more opportunities for interceptions. Stewart and cornerback Jimmy Smith were also close to getting one in the first quarter.

Baltimore doesn't have a lot of proven ball hawks in the secondary. Last year, cornerback Corey Graham and safety James Ihedigbo led the secondary in picks with four and three, respectively. They both departed in free agency.

Cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith each notched two picks last season. Safety Matt Elam had one. Stewart, who the Ravens signed in free agency this offseason, has one interception in his five seasons so far. Collectively, they have six career interceptions.

Harbaugh said being able to make plays on the ball is the "measuring stick" of a defensive back at the end of the day.

"It's not just about playing solid football. That's expected in this league," Harbaugh said. "It's about playing solid football and being able to make plays through your technique and through your responsibility."

The Ravens used to have the ultimate ball hawk at safety in future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, who finished with 64 career interceptions. Nobody is ready to start playing like he used to, but it would be good to at least see some Reed-like flashes.

"You don't run out of your [area of] responsibility to make plays, unless you're Ed Reed and you really know what you're doing," Harbaugh said with a chuckle. "At some point, maybe a guy like that gets that leeway. He was probably the greatest ever at doing that.

"[You have to] play through your responsibility and make plays when they present themselves. That's what separates players, and that's what gives them a chance to play more and make a career for themselves. We're looking for guys to do that."

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