One of the worst-kept secrets of the first half of the season was that the Ravens' defense needed a break. They had a bunch of injuries, big and small, and getting a week off truly came at the right time.
That's something defensive coordinator Dean Pees talked about when speaking with the media on Thursday. His group really was battling a number of health problems, and the break couldn't have come at a better time if they had scripted one themselves.
"We had a lot of guys – even if they weren’t out – a lot of guys that were banged up, so we needed some time to try to rest and recuperate," Pees said. "The other thing that we needed the bye week for as a staff was to sit back and evaluate where we are and why we’re playing sometimes like we’re playing."
Pees said coaches use the bye week to take a hard look at what's working on the field and what isn't. The Ravens did that, especially because they came into it after a poor performance in the final game before the bye week, a loss to Houston.
"You do that whether you are playing well or whether you’re not playing well," Pees said. "That’s what you always use the bye week for, but sometimes you really have to sit back and say, ‘OK. Here’s who we have personnel-wise. Things have changed. Guys are out. Guys are banged up. Here’s our scheme. What can they do well within that scheme?’
Now comes the final nine games of the season. It will be interesting to see what the defense does to try and improve their problems playing both the run and the pass, which have been surprising in the season's first half.
But at least at first, the defense will benefit from that week to rest as the Ravens try to keep control of the AFC North.