Ravens Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale has some new toys at his disposal and can't wait to turn his unit up another notch. But how will he deploy them?
Baltimore blitzed far more than any team in the NFL last season. According to Pro Football Reference, the Ravens blitzed on more than 54 percent of their plays. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the next-closest team at 44 percent.
With a reworked and dramatically upgraded defensive line, how much (if at all) will Martindale's blitz-happy ways change? Is that just what he and his scheme is, or was last year a byproduct of adjusting to his personnel?
The additions of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe give the Ravens two rugged run stoppers who will also help tremendously with the pressure up front. Last year, Baltimore had four sacks, collectively, from its defensive linemen.
"I think that everybody wants to talk about pass rush. I understand when you talk about four-man pass rush, but we were able to get to the quarterback last year. You guys know how we did it; it's documented," Martindale said.
"We want football players. We're going to play people to their strengths. If you're a run player, a run-type player, we're going to get you out there when it comes to those situations. As a pass rusher, I think that we've got some flexibility. You've got Derek Wolfe [who] you can move inside. You can move Calais inside or outside. There's just different flexibility that you have with everybody."
Campbell registered 6.5 sacks last year, 10.5 the year before and 14.5 in 2017. Wolfe is coming off a career-high seven sacks in just 12 games.
Part of the beauty of both players is they can be used to be the featured rusher, or they can be relied upon to set things up for a teammate. The Ravens had a very high success rate when using stunts last year, and they signed two players who fit perfectly into that style.
"You know the players that we have in Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe," Martindale said. "Schematically, does it change a whole lot? We'll wait and see with different personnel flexibility.
"I think that it just makes your package more flexible. You've got Calais Campbell, who's the best five-technique in the National Football League, and you've got Derek Wolfe. You can work a combination of those guys. It all depends on how fast the younger guys come along. I just think that we're better up front. I think with 'Big Baby' [Brandon Williams] getting moved back to the 'Nose' – but he'll still play three-technique. You know how we do it; we'll move them all around. It's going to be fun to watch. I just can't wait to get together."
Even though Campbell and Wolfe haven't stepped on a field yet as a Raven, their presence is being felt in meetings. Head Coach John Harbaugh said earlier this offseason that Wolfe was banging his door down to get the playbook as soon as possible.
"They're two great players and leaders," Martindale said. "Calais and Derek both have been just phenomenal in these Zoom meetings and getting to know their teammates as well as you can over the Internet."