Ravens

Quick Links

Ravens defense keeps creating chances

908985.png

Ravens defense keeps creating chances

As much grief as the Ravens defense gets for giving up too many yards, they've done their job on the road.

They have 12 takeaways overall, and in their only two road games of the season -- the Ravens lost 24-23 to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2 and eked out a 9-6 at the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday -- they've forced eight turnovers.

They're not as good as last season with linebacker Terrell Suggs out and recovering from an Achilles tear, and definitely not when compared with Ravens defenses in seasons past as those teams scarcely allowed 100-yard runners.

This defense entered Week 5 ranked just 23rd in overall and allowed Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles 140 yards rushing. The Chiefs amassed 338 yards of total offense, but Charles only rushed for 15 yards on 10 carries in the second half.

Linebacker Courtney Upshaw and safety Ed Reed had fumble recoveries. Cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams had one interception each. It was Williams' second game in a row with an interception, and he caused the deflection that led to Webb's.

Charles never reached the end zone.

"They're going to run the ball. That's what they do. The bottom line is they don't score they don't win. Regardless of what they did the first half look at the scoreboard," linebacker Ray Lewis said of the 3-3 tie midway through. "If they're not on the scoreboard I don't care what people do against us. It don't matter.

"I take my hat off to my defense.To come in and get as many turnovers as we did and just make the stops every time."

Before the Chiefs game, defensive end Pernell McPhee pointed out that statistical success has little to do with winning in today's NFL.

"If you go back to the last couple teams that been to the Super Bowl, the defense been (ranked) 31, 32. It's all about the W. These days, offenses are pass-first," McPhee said. "There are a lot of great receivers out there. All different kind of schemes. Stats going to come. We know what we have to do to when when it's clutch time. That's when it really matters."

To continually put the strain on this retooled defense is unfair. The offense has to carry its weight on the road at some point, and the Ravens will get a reality check when they travel to the Houston Texans later this month.

After the offense had 17 points in the first half of the first road game vs. the Eagles, it has posted just 15 points -- five field goals from Justin Tucker -- in the last six quarters on the road.

Quick Links

Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

flacco-jackson-ap.png
AP Images

Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

don-martindale-ap.png
AP Images

Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- There are no dreary work days for Don Martindale, who has overwhelmingly embraced his new role as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.

After serving for five seasons as the team's linebackers coach, Martindale was promoted to coordinator in January after Dean Pees left the post.

Enthusiastic doesn't even begin to describe Martindale's attitude about being in charge of the defense.

"Ever since we've made this transition, it's been a joy to just come through those gates every day. I love it," Martindale said after Wednesday's mandatory minicamp practice.

This isn't the first time Martindale has been put in charge of molding a defense. In 2010, he watched over a unit in Denver that was the worst in the NFL in both yards and points allowed per game.

Given a second chance, the 55-year-old Martindale is putting together a defense that will rely heavily on the instinct of several of its most proven players, most notably safety Eric Weddle and linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley.

"He's just putting his personal fix on our defense and expanding it, giving the guys confidence to play fast," Weddle said. "The idea is to do what's best for the defense, not what's best the individual."

Martindale called Mosley "the quarterback" of a fluid unit that can make a snap-change from drop-back coverage to an all-out blitz. In that regard, Mosley believes this defense is superior to the one that in 2017 yielded 18.9 points per game, sixth-best in the NFL.

"The way we're able to use our core guys, put them in different spots and do some of the same things just from different positions, it's more creative, I would say, than where we were last year," Mosley said.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh promoted Martindale rather than go outside the organization because he wanted to extend his vision of a defense that has evolved since his arrival in 2008.

"All we're doing is forwarding John's plan," Martindale said. "We're remodeling the package. It's still Ravens football, it's still Ravens defense, but we've streamlined it. It's the elegant simplicity. Guys are playing really fast."

Asked for his take on Martindale's defense, Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg replied, "They're fast and they're furious."

Sure, things might be different once the pads go on at training camp, but at this point, Martindale's boss likes what he sees.

"We're doing a lot of neat things on defense, things that are really good," Harbaugh said. "More than ever, we're putting it on our players to make decisions in real time."

Martindale has a new title, but old habits die hard.

"For the most part, it's been the same," Mosley said. "He always comes in and says, `I have to lead the linebacker room,' and sits down and gets to talking like he's back at linebacker coach."

Told of Mosley's disclosure, Martindale smiled and said, "I've been trying to stay out of there, but you can't help but go in. That's home. I have a good time in the secondary room as well."

And just about everywhere else.

"Where we're going with this thing is really exciting to me," Martindale said, "and I know it's exciting to the players."

In other training camp news, cornerback Jimmy Smith was a surprise participant at practice, going through a light regimen of individual drills just six months after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

"I don't know if Jimmy's like half Wolverine, but he's healed up in half the time of regular human beings," Weddle said, referring to the amazing recuperative powers of the Marvel super hero.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: