Why the Ravens Didn’t Address the Secondary

03May10

This issue was a point of controversy in the Ravens’ draft. For one, there’s a general sense of “In Oz we trust” which is well-placed considering his track record. Instead, Baltimore has thus far concentrated on the passing game and front 7 on defense.  Considering that Cam Cameron seemed afraid to open up the playbook for Flacco at times last year (most notably in the loss to the Colts in the playoffs), Newsome’s intentions were/are well placed. But let’s look at that defense for a second.

Big picture–the AFC North isn’t quite what it was. The Steelers got worse, trading away a 1,000+ yard receiver in Santonio Holmes, and losing Ben Roethlesberger for 6 games. The pass would seem to be less of an issue there. Cinnci stayed about the same, improving the offense (Gresham was a favorite target for me), but no significant changes. The Browns are the Browns.

So I think we’ll take the North. The question then becomes, what about the rest of the AFC? Indy should be our top rivals again, and this brings us back to that playoff game.

I don’t know if there are corners on earth, let alone ones that are free agents or coming through the draft, able to stop Peyton Manning. If Manning loses, it’s normally because of his own mistakes or he’s under pressure. The Ravens won’t be stopping him in the secondary in all likelihood, so then you have to turn to pressure.

It was dreadful in the playoff game. But with Kruger bulking up, the addition of Terrence Cody, not to mention work in the draft (Sergio Kindle), the Ravens have addressed a significant problem without overspending. Look to see some 4-3 sets, and a lot of rotation.

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2 Responses to “Why the Ravens Didn’t Address the Secondary”

  1. 1 Cole

    Well you’ve suckered me in with a Ravens post.

    1. If Kruger’s bulking up its not because we’re going to run 4-3 sets. He’s working to replace Pryce, which is long due now. This means our line of the future is Kruger Cody Ngata.

    2. Kindle is waaayyy to small to be a 4-3 pass rusher, in my opinion. He’s a model Suggs and I think we’re shooting for a ‘blitzburgh’ defense which features two OLBs that essentially blitz 80% of the time while the middle linebackers concern themselves with the pass. This means not as much disguise (which was my favorite part of Rex’s defenses) and more win your one v ones.

    3. The reason Ozzie should have drafted corners is that Peyton can be beat with coverage. See the Jets v Indy game of last season in which Peyton had one guy to throw at, and he threw at him repeatedly (Lito Sheppard’s guy). If you have a Revis locking up one side, it limits the options and forces him to hold the ball better. Now I’m not trying to get in a ‘what makes better coverage – coverage or pressure’ debate because I agree with you that I’m firmly on the side of pressure, but when we’re planning on rolling out there with a Vivica Foxworth and Frank ’15 yards’ Walker for week one, I think its obvious we have some issues. I know Fabian and Webb will be around, but Fabian is only slightly ahead in the recovery and Webb isn’t going to be good to go til maybe the start of next season (ACL being a 2 year recovery they say until you’re 100%).

    Morale of the story here is that In Ozzie We Trust, but that doesn’t mean we can’t question the decision to draft two tight ends in back to back rounds and failing to sign a veteran even for just a couple weeks starting time. We’re here to win a superbowl, not just the division, and our main threats are Indianapolis, New Orleans, and (if old man river is there) Minnesota. All teams that pass proficiently, and I’m not sure we can beat them consistently.

    And I don’t wanna be doom and gloom, cause we are going to get the division this year unless Gresham is the savior of the Bengals passing game and/ or Dixon is the new Steeler QB (which is possible).

  2. 2 poliology

    I think these are all pretty reasonable concerns–one thing I left out though was free agent corners. Dre Bly is still out there, as are others. I still expect them to add some experience at the position–you’re right, the current situation there is unsustainable. The ACL issue is actually becoming less significant–look at Chelsea’s Michael Essien for example, who returned last year after missing only 3 months. It’s a case by case thing.

    The 4-3 issue, I think is one of semantics. I don’t think they should switch to it full time or as a base defense–I just think we’ll see it brought in occasionally. Suggs has often lined up as a down lineman, and I don’t see why Kruger can’t do the same. Wouldn’t be surprised to see some zone blitzing with Kruger and Kindle on the same side.

    With Ngata and Cody, and even to some extent Gregg, you have proven effective interior lineman. They just wore down easily. So that addresses a legitimate concern.

    Now, the two TE issue is definitely questionable. For one, if Heap can stay healthy (yeah right) he still can do work. And certainly the corner issue could have still been addressed at that time, and I’m surprised and saddened it wasn’t. But, my impression was that these guys were both steals thanks to some questionable knocks that made them move down. All I can say there, is we’ll see. I’m still not big Cameron–this draft and free agent strategy depends largely on his willingness to open up the offense.

    And yes, you can always question Ozzie. It might be the one thing Kyle Boller has proven throughout his career.


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