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#1 repooponus

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:13 PM

The Ravens defeated the Cowboys last night 37-30 in the second preseason game for each team.   This is the first time Tony Romo got on the field and he looked like vintage Romo.  Early in the game Romo spotted the Ravens a 7 point lead by fumbling the hand-off to the RB DeMarco Murray.  After that Tony settled down and started making plays in and out of the pocket and he completed on 4/5 passes for 80 yard and a touchdown.  The Cowboys running and passing game looked solid and it really tested Dean Peesdefense.  The Ravens defense has potential to be good and potential to be bad as well.  They Ravens really struggled defending the outside runs just like last week vs. the 49ers. They also showed lack of corner depth.  After Jimmy Smith left the game, the secondary was getting picked on.  Overall the “bend but not break” defense did it’s job by holding the Cowboys to just 10 points in the first half but there is some concern.

 

Lets start with the linebacking core,  Terrell Suggs seemed to have trouble getting through the O-line on run plays.  He ended up chasing a few of the outside runs to the sidelines.   Suggs pass rush still looked strong he got around Tyron Smith on a couple of plays.  Could Terrell be becoming a pure pass rush specialist? Courtney Upshaw had the big touchdown off of the Romo fumbled but other then that he was just a body on the field.  He finished the night with a solo tackle and a touchdown.  Upshaw looks to be in great shape and this should be his best year yet.  Elvis Dumervil seemed like he was no where to be found besides the one pass defense.  I wonder if bringing in Elvis on passing downs is affecting Upshaw’s overall performance.  If these three players don’t step up on outside runs this could become a huge weakness for the Ravens.  You saw the Cowboys have lots of success running outside and then moderate success when they came back to the inside runs.  Daryl Smith, Arthur Brown and rookie CJ Mosley where all over the field but it seems like they all have similar skill sets.  The Ravens could really use a big body, 250 lbs linebacker playing down hill in the middle.  Mosley seems like he will become a very good linebacker but he needs to add about 10-15 lbs to his frame.  The linebacker core has the most depth on the defense and possibly whole team.  They should be playing at the highest level, recording lots of sacks and tackles. 

 

The defensive line were part of the reason why the cowboys had such a successful outside run game.  Where was Haloti Ngata?  Before the season started he was quoted saying he wan’t to have a 10 sack season.  Ngata is getting paid a lot of money to make impact plays and he could be the most overpaid player on the team.   I saw him on the field but if you look at the box score he didn’t record a single statistic.  Not good for a man that possesses that much strength (or used too).  Chris Canty is another player shooting for a better year then last but I couldn’t even tell you if he was playing.  The ONLY starter on the defensive line that had a good game is Brandon Williams.  He looks very stout at nose tackle and he has the strength and power to tie up more then one blocker, and looks good against inside runs.  If the Ravens are going to have a good defense this year it all starts here.   Pernell McFee is putting a good summer together he is listed as a linebacker but he may be a candidate to replace one of the struggling veterans.  McFee has been delivering punishing legal blows to the quarterback which is something that could help put the fear back into this defense. 

 

We can’t talk about the secondary without talking about corner depth.  After Jimmy Smith left the field with the chest injury it was painfully obvious that the Ravens lack serious depth.  Smith has been pretty dependable player health wise so I do expect him to play a full season.  Lardarius Webb injury history definitely leaves the Ravens corner situation a huge question.  Asa Jackson is talented but lacks the size to be able to fill in on the outside.  The ideal role for Webb and Jackson is in the slot.  Chykie Brown may have had his best night, but it still was not impressive.  Brown really lacks ball skills and being able to track the ball coming in.  One play stuck out to me, he got beat down the sidelines but recovered to make a nice deflection to break up the play.  In reality he got beat bad and if the ball wasn’t under thrown then it was a touchdown.  During that play Chykie never looked up to see the ball coming he just happened to get lucky when he threw his hands up.  I fear that Chykie may get more playing time then he deserves because of his size and the lack of outside corners on the roster.  Terrence Brooks is trying to find a role on this team and he was playing a lot of corner.  He was right there with most of the receiver but still aloud some catches.  Brooks appears to be a solid tackler, wrapping up on his two solo tackles. He has potential to become a corner this year if he can’t see the field at safety.  The safety group was really average.  Matt Elam has not been making impact plays.  The coaching staff believed that if he changed positions to strong safety it would fit him better.   So far he still is playing the same as last year and hasn’t done anything to impress.  He also has not had many negative plays which makes him an average safety.  This could possible be a downgrade at strong safety because James Ihedigbo was playing at a higher level.  Ihedigbo is now a Detroit Lion after free agency.  The last question mark on the defense is free safety.  Darian Stewart had a good game but wasn’t doing a lot of deep zone coverage.  They had Stewart playing up on the line and even blitzing a few times.  He made some nice tackles and had recorded a hit on the qb.  However he was not making the typical plays you would think a free safety would make like breaking up passes.  It makes me wonder if he could play strong safety at a higher level the Elam.  I wanted to see Will Hill in action tonight because he could be the one player that could change this whole secondary.  Hill is a highly rated free safety and I would be willing to bet he starts day one after his 6 game suspension.  Dean Pees would then have some options like moving Brooks to corner and having Stewart and Elam compete for the strong safety job.  

 

To sum up the defense, every position group has some positives and negatives.  Right now the defense looks average, but with all the high draft picks on this team they should be better.  They must be better then last year if they want to get back into the playoffs.  It still early in preseason but I do expect the Ravens defense to return to form this year.  Ozzie Newsome will make a move if needed.  He is most likely trying to find another outside corner to help out the secondary.  The Ravens have enough talent at defensive line and linebacker to make it work.  Veterans must show up to play and the young guys must pull their weight.  Playing average defense is not what the Baltimore Raven’s front office and fans are looking for.  Baltimore has a history of playing lights out defense and they are still striving to get back to that level.  Eventually they will get there but when will it happen?  They should get better as the season progresses and will receive an extra boast when Will Hill returns in week 7. 

 

Your thoughts? sorry for writing so much lol.

 

-Pete


Edited by repooponus, 17 August 2014 - 02:15 PM.

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#2 3-4ravdef509

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:30 PM

Pre. Season. Nuff said
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#3 Challenge Accepted

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:34 PM

Its preseason....
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#4 ratedr

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:35 PM

Good post.


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#5 BmoreBird22

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:37 PM

Well, I guess I'll break down a couple of things you talked about in the order you did talk about them. 

Terrell Suggs isn't really having trouble getting through the offensive line. He's having problems corralling himself. He's getting way too far upfield and is not setting the edge. That's a huge reason for the outside runs working as well as they do. Suggs is freelancing and it's getting the Ravens gashed. Upshaw wasn't really just another body. Not as spectacular as last week, but still stout on the edge. You talked about the Cowboys running up the middle and finding no success. Had you considered that they might not be trying to run up the middle, but Upshaw's edge setting may be forcing it that way? He's been playing pretty solid run defense. Dumervil had a decent game. Saw him pushing the pocket some and getting into the backfield. Just didn't hit home any.

 

Who cares if Ngata didn't record a single statistic? That's not really his game. He's there to hold his ground and create a wall. He ties up blockers so the linebackers can do their jobs. He does it well, and if he makes a tackle along the way, great, but you can't really measure his value on the box score. This preseason has actually been a decent one for him and with him not getting pushed around so much, he may be safe for next year.

 

That play on the ball by Brown was not luck at all. It was actually a really stellar play by a player who got beat. He knew he had no chance to turn around and play the ball, so he read the wide receiver, moved his arms with the receivers, and made a play. It wasn't under thrown or anything, just a great play. He was inconsistent in coverage and a shoddy tackler, but it was an awesome play. Ihedigbo wasn't playing at a higher level. Elam, in the two games, has been asked to play deep a lot more than I expected, and it likely goes back to wanting positional versatility. Brooks, Elam, and Stewart could play SS, FS, and slot CB in a pinch when needed. They're trying to give multiple looks. In an ideal world, the Ravens would have a better single high safety in there, such as Will Hill, but for now, they make do with what they have and mix up the looks. You're not going to want Stewart as your starting SS, though, because his underneath coverage and awareness is not up to snuff and his tackling overall can be shoddy. He's a better safety when in a two deep shell


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#6 repooponus

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:57 PM

I suppose they are still working out which role the safety's will take.  You would think that Elam would play more up on the line but I guess we will see.  It's kind of interesting to think about what they will do with Brooks and Hill.  Chykie did make a good play for sure I think he will be fine if he starts looking for the ball more.  Yes its preseason it will take a while for everyone to get rolling with all the young players on D.  I think we will have a good defense this year, with most teams health will be important.


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#7 repooponus

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 03:07 PM

Yes I take back the just a  body on the field thing with Upshaw.  I was trying to elude to he may be better overall player then we think.  If he got more PT.  Dumervil is so good with what he does though so its not happening yet.   I like what you said about Suggs he can work on that.

 

 I can really see this defense getting better as the season goes on and even improve more next year.


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#8 GrimCoconut

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 03:45 PM

I'm unhappy with quite a few players but none more than Elam. Perhaps I'm too hard on him but I'm surprised that he hasn't looked better so far. He really needs to turn it on. He's not having the impact I'd expect from him. I saw him just continue to lunge at guys hoping to make a tackle. It's still pre-season so we have time to see.

Edited by GrimCoconut, 17 August 2014 - 03:46 PM.

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#9 TDubbs

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 03:50 PM

Not really concerned with the play of Suggs/Dumervil/Ngata ... Those are vets that are getting through preseason games without getting injured, they are not giving 100%


Edited by TDubbs, 17 August 2014 - 03:51 PM.

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#10 ravens rule

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:08 PM

I wanna see more from Dumervile there were talks that he had a quiet camp and last season he disappeared down the stretch. If he is only gonna play mostly on 3rd downs he better play up to his level. It's only preseason so I woudn't really worry about our front 7 because they are way too talented to not play well. If our D looks bad it'll be secondary giving up plays.


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#11 5aiah

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:23 PM

No one will win a Super Bowl without a great secondary in today's NFL.


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#12 SecretAgentMan

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:26 PM

I'm unhappy with quite a few players but none more than Elam. Perhaps I'm too hard on him but I'm surprised that he hasn't looked better so far. He really needs to turn it on. He's not having the impact I'd expect from him. I saw him just continue to lunge at guys hoping to make a tackle. It's still pre-season so we have time to see.

I was gonna say. Who was the CB on our team that was burned consistently week two pre season? Jimmy smith.

Elam is bad in coverage but is unsurprisingly better vs the run.

There's still time, but even I am beginning to think bust.
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#13 Militant X 1

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:28 PM

The defense was horrible....preseason or not!  Just terrible!  They need to clean that junk up!

 

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#14 CalvinSmoke

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 05:03 PM

I beg to differ in regards to the run game, I'm curious to hear what you all think. Suggs has been a pass rushing specialist for a little while now, but Upshaw held down containment all game. I want to say the same with our defensive line, runs in between the tackles and to the (defense's) left side where shut down. 

 

The interior and and left side impressed me actually, because that is a very impressive offensive line that the Cowboys have built over there and yet they got very little movement over there. Suggs' pursuit angles were just picked apart if I recall. 


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#15 ratedr

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 05:35 PM

I was gonna say. Who was the CB on our team that was burned consistently week two pre season? Jimmy smith.

Elam is bad in coverage but is unsurprisingly better vs the run.

There's still time, but even I am beginning to think bust.

Kinda wishing we took Cyprien honestly


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#16 GrimCoconut

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 06:26 PM

I was gonna say. Who was the CB on our team that was burned consistently week two pre season? Jimmy smith.

Elam is bad in coverage but is unsurprisingly better vs the run.

There's still time, but even I am beginning to think bust.

I feel like that's not necessarily a great correlation. Elam has had concerns coming out of college about his ability to play at the next level. Jimmy was considered one of the best CB in that class next to Peterson. Talent and ability were never questions but rather maturity. I'm also concerned because I saw him leap to tackle RB in the Dallas game. That was something he did at Florida and continues to do and it needs to stop but he hasn't corrected it yet.
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#17 GrimCoconut

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 06:28 PM

I beg to differ in regards to the run game, I'm curious to hear what you all think. Suggs has been a pass rushing specialist for a little while now, but Upshaw held down containment all game. I want to say the same with our defensive line, runs in between the tackles and to the (defense's) left side where shut down.

The interior and and left side impressed me actually, because that is a very impressive offensive line that the Cowboys have built over there and yet they got very little movement over there. Suggs' pursuit angles were just picked apart if I recall.

I don't think Suggs is a pass rush specialist. Definitely not for a while like you suggest. As for Upshaw, I'm personally sick of him as well. We need a more complete OLB. I don't hate Upshaw but he's not living up to that second round pick for an OLB. You expect those guys to develop into a complete player not remain a role/situational player.
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#18 Free Agent

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 06:41 PM

 

Mosley seems like he will become a very good linebacker but he needs to add about 10-15 lbs to his frame. 

 

Thereby losing his ability to run with TEs. Patrick Willis is 240 and Luke Kuechly is Mosley's weight at 235. Not only does their leanness allow them to cover tight ends, but also it allows them to play sideline to sideline. He'll be perfectly fine at his current weight.


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#19 ravensnick

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 07:37 PM

Our defense is spilt: front 7 is dominating and secondary is falling to pieces.


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#20 ravensnick

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 07:38 PM

I beg to differ in regards to the run game, I'm curious to hear what you all think. Suggs has been a pass rushing specialist for a little while now, but Upshaw held down containment all game. I want to say the same with our defensive line, runs in between the tackles and to the (defense's) left side where shut down. 

 

The interior and and left side impressed me actually, because that is a very impressive offensive line that the Cowboys have built over there and yet they got very little movement over there. Suggs' pursuit angles were just picked apart if I recall. 

Sorry, Suggs is one of the best run defenders in the league and maybe the best 3-4 OLB against the run. he always has been, he one of those few guys that can do it all.  Dumervil is a good example of a sole pass rusher as was Kruger. 


Edited by ravensnick, 17 August 2014 - 07:39 PM.

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