Ravens

Ngakoue: 'I wasn't utilized the right way' by Ravens

Ravens
Yannick Ngakoue rushes the passer for the Ravens in 2020

Ahead of his first season as a Las Vegas Raider, former Ravens pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue made his feelings known regarding how Baltimore handled him in their defensive line rotation. 

Spoiler alert: He wasn't a fan. 

"I feel like in Baltimore, I wasn't utilized the right way. That rotation was kind of ugly for me," Ngakoue told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "Pass rushers need rhythm. You have to have multiple plays to set up moves, and I felt like I didn't have that there."

The Ravens acquired Ngakoue before the 2020 NFL Trade Deadline in an effort to boost its pass rush for the stretch run of the season. Ngakoue was decently productive, recording three sacks and two forced fumbles in nine games, but he only made three starts for the Ravens and saw his snap count cut drastically from his days with the Jaguars. 

He ultimately signed a two-year, $26 million contract with the Raiders in free agency, and so far he feels pretty good about the fit on Jon Gruden's club. 

"I feel like this is the spot for me based on the energy I'm feeling," Ngakoue said. "Just from the first day I walked in the building, I can tell guys want to be close, guys want to win, and I just feel like this is a great opportunity for myself to try to help lead this group and bring back this 82-83' Raiders [feel]."

 

Meanwhile, the Ravens will work to replace not just Ngakoue, but also Matthew Judon along the defensive line. Baltimore has found success creating pressure with creative blitz schemes, but losing two pass rushers of that caliber isn't ideal. 

As of now, Tyus Bowser, first-round pick Odafe Oweh and newly acquired Justin Houston will be tasked with bringing pressure off the edge for Don Martindale's defense.