When the defense is playing better, the criticism calms down. One player who heard plenty of negative things in the first part of the season is cornerback Cary Williams.
He had problems at various points, getting beaten in different ways as the Ravens seemed like they just couldn't control passing games on a regular basis. But things have been changing in recent weeks.
The team's pass rush has slowly been awakening, mostly since the return of Terrell Suggs, something that's helped the defense control the passing game a little better. However, Williams is one of the players who's also been faring better.
Williams often got beat on downfield patters but that's slowed in recent weeks.
"I think the thing he’s been is a little more consistent, and that’s what we were looking for," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said when talking to the media on Thursday. "That’s what we didn’t have earlier in the year. I think we’d have some real good plays, and then we’d have some plays that … I’m talking about everybody, not just necessarily Cary [Williams]. I just think he’s been more consistent – feels a little bit more comfortable."
Williams looks more settled out there. The Ravens really needed him to do better due to all of the injury problems. Lardarius Webb is out for the year, and Jimmy Smith will be gone for awhile, so Williams was the cornerback who'd played the most in the last few years.
Pees said the recent improvement of Williams kind of goes along with what many on the defense have done recently.
"Just like all of them, they all have their moments," Pees said. "Nobody has played a perfect game in the 40 years that I’ve been coaching; I haven’t seen one of those. He’s just more consistent. He works hard during the week and prepares himself.”
Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.
1. The Ravens are hopeful Earl Thomas will be a leader for their new defense which Thomas called "very complex." "This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle,” Thomas said to Ravens media. “We were just playing Cover-3 all the time. Now, we’re making calls on the fly. That’s the biggest adjustment for me.”
Additionally, Thomas told media members after practice that he's made "fast friends" with quarterback Lamar Jackson. "He's a very funny guy, I don't know if you all know that," Thomas said.
2. Speaking of Lamar Jackson, he reportedly had his best day of practice so far this offseason according to Ravens media. Jackson's throws looked much better and he was quick in the pocket.
July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.
The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.
Credit: Baltimore Ravens and Rotoworld for news points.
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Like most athletes, Robert Griffin III was empathetic towards Kevin Durant when he first went down, taking to Twitter on Monday night to voice his concern.
Today, the Ravens' veteran quarterback told ESPN's The Undefeated that he's all too familiar with Durant's decision to play and subsequent injury. RG3 likened it to his own brief playoff stint in 2013. Just four weeks removed from an injury to a knee that required reconstructive surgery in college, RG3 started – only to get hit late in the fourth and watch both his season and career come to a screeching halt.
But that's not how RG3 views it.
"I was looking at it like I'm out for here for my brothers. I'm out here for my team. And that was the only place I wasnted to be."
And Griffin doesn't believe he's alone in that thought process, suggesting it was KD's mindset ahead of Game 5 as well.
"Most of us are built to fight. So whenever we get a situation where we’re a little injured or a little banged-up, our first reaction isn’t to get out of there and rest. Our first reaction is to figure out how we can keep going. That’s what makes a guy like Kevin Durant great."
It remains to be seen whether KD's recovery will be smoother than RG3's. The former Heisman Trophy winner never came close to matching his breakout rookie season, eventually losing his starting job in Washington in 2014.
Durant will miss all of next season, meaning the former Montrose Christian star's next NBA appearance would be as a 32 year-old.