New Defensive Coordinator, Old Defensive Results
Through four weeks, it looks like the Ravens has returned to their ways of old under new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.
For years, when the offense hit the field, it was time to get another beer or head to the bathroom; Ravens fans knew that the majority of the exciting plays were going to happen with the defense on the field.
Could you blame anyone in Baltimore for not caring about offense? From wining a Super Bowl with a team that didn’t score an offensive touchdown for five straight games to being subjected to a “Quarterback of the Future” who couldn’t take a snap from center or keep track of his own feet, “offense” was downright offensive in B’More for many years.
Defense, on the other hand…
The perfect concoction of offensive duds (Kyle Boller, Travis Taylor, Elvis Grbac) mixed with defensive greats (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs) has everyone in Baltimore wired for one thing: DEFENSE!
While over the past three seasons, talented players such as Joe Flacco and Ray Rice have started to make fans pay attention even when Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are taking water breaks, defense remains the identity of Baltimore football.
Last year’s defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, left for the University of Michigan to take the same job title. Let’s not even talk about the two years we wasted with this talented bunch under Mattison’s conservative approach…ugh.
Chuck Pagano has stepped in and has been the best thing that could have happened to this team. Mattison’s three-man rushes are a thing of the past, as the defense has once again found itself being free to do what they’ve always done best… force turnovers!
Pagano’s attacking style has returned the Ravens defense to the form it once was under the tutelage of Marvin Lewis or Rex Ryan. This defense is aggressive, it’s filled with playmakers, and most important of all it forces game changing turnovers.
Through the first four games the Ravens already have tallied:
- Sacks: 11 (T-4th)
- Fumbles: 8
- Interceptions: 6 (T-3rd)
- Total turnover: 14 (1st)
The defense ranks in the league:
- Points Allowed: 14.2 (2nd)
- Total Yards Allowed: 284.5 (3rd)
- Pass Yards Allowed: 212 (7th)
- Rushing Yards Allowed: 72.5 (3rd)
- Turnover margin: +7 (2nd)
With their three defensive touchdowns on Sunday against the Jets, the Ravens defense has SCORED as many touchdowns as they have ALLOWED through four games.
It’s clear that Pagano’s aggressive coaching style has the players pumped to take the field, and they are forcing opposing quarterbacks to make mistakes. The Ravens are so relentless that they aren’t even allowing quarterbacks a break by handing the ball off.
Don’t try running the ball on the Ravens either. So far this team has yet to yield a 100 yard rusher. The highest rushing total put up against the Ravens was from Cadillac Williams when he ran for 75 yards in a losing effort in Week 3. By that point, the Rams were so far out of the game the Ravens were letting them run to eat up the clock. Titans running back Chris Johnson is the next highest rusher with 53 yards against the Ravens in Week 2.
Stopping the run, forcing bad passes and turning turnovers into touchdowns has been the Ravens recipe for victory for years.
This regular season only may be a quarter of the way over but the defense is looking like those defenses of the past. It’s too early to guarantee the Ravens playoff games but the future is looking bright so far for Chuck Pagano’s defensive squad.