OWINGS MILLS – A frustrated Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees gave a straightforward assessment of his unit Thursday, as he tried to find answers before Sunday’s game against the 49ers. Both Pees and his players have been targets for criticism. Pees knows it won’t stop until the Ravens stop giving up huge chunks of yardage and late leads.
“The thing with us is we are our own worst enemy,” Pees said. “Right now, is not about San Francisco, and it wasn’t about Cleveland. It’s about us.”
The Ravens gave up 37 points to the Raiders, 33 points to the Browns, and are giving up 27.4 points per game, more than all but six teams in the NFL.
Pees gave an example of the kind of mistakes the Ravens are making. They called a blitz against the Browns in the second quarter Sunday that worked, forcing quarterback Josh McCown to throw the ball away on third down. So Pees called the same blitz later in the game, and McCown didn’t recognize it again. Only this time, the blitzing player didn’t run through the gap he was supposed to, even though he had done it earlier. So the blitz didn’t get to McCown, even though he didn’t anticipate it coming.
“That’s our inconsistency,” Pees said, not naming the player who had erred. “It’s not panic. It’s not,’Ok, we have to change the scheme.’ We don’t have to do anything. We just have to learn to do the same things all the time.
“We would have sacked him (McCown), because he wasn’t even looking for the guy. It’s all of our faults. It’s not just that guy’s fault. Somehow, even as coaches, we just have to make it right.”
The Ravens may be shorthanded defensively Sunday, with outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (thigh), cornerback Lardarius Webb (thigh), safety Terrence Brooks (thumb), and defensive end Chris Canty (calf) all nursing injuries. However, Pees wants no excuses, even if rookies like defensive tackle Carl Davis and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith have to play increased reps.
“I know we’re a young team, but young is all relative,” Pees said. “We’re not young anymore. We’re into the season. We’ve had OTA’s. We’ve had training camp. I’m tired with young.
“We can also say, ‘This guy is out, that guys is out.’ I don’t care.”
The final word from Pees was that he wanted players to be decisive Sunday.
“Let it go,” Pees said. “Don’t play cautious.
‘I’m not blaming it on players, I’m blaming it on us. We have to drive it home to them, to make them believe they can do it.”
At 1-4, if the defense doesn’t improve quickly for the Ravens, it will be too late.