Ravens’ pass rush pushes to im­prove

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - Mike Pre­ston Ravens In­sider

One area that might have frus­trated the Ravens more than their in­abil­ity to cover Steel­ers re­ceivers last year was their lack of a con­sis­tent pass rush.

So when gen­eral man­ager Ozzie New­some went into the off­sea­son he wanted to add a cou­ple of young pass rush­ers and put more pres­sure on elite quar­ter­backs Ben Roeth­lis­berger and Tom Brady.

The Ravens are just two games into the pre­sea­son and they have al­ready shown im­prove­ment — and not just from out­side lineback­ers Ter­rell Suggs, Matthew Judon, Za’Dar­ius Smith and Tyus Bowser.

De­fen­sive tack­les Michael Pierce and Bran­don Wil­liams are col­laps­ing the pocket and that’s a ma­jor step in putting pres­sure on the quar­ter­back. The Ravens pass rush is more com­plete.

“I think it has been good. It could be bet­ter,” said de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dean Pees in eval­u­at­ing the pass rush. “What I have re­ally been pleased with, ac­tu­ally, is kind of the push up the pocket from the big guys in a cou­ple of these games with Bran­don Wil­liams and Michael Pierce and some of those guys

“You are not nec­es­sar­ily see­ing sacks, but you are see­ing a good push on the quar­ter­back, which is mak­ing him get rid of it early, and also some­times have to come over the top a lit­tle more than what he wants and maybe not be­ing able to com­plete it. I think it has been good. It has not been great, but it has been good.”

The de­fense has five sacks and nu­mer­ous pres­sures this pre­sea­son.

A year ago the Ravens fin­ished with 31 sacks but the pres­sure wasn’t con­sis­tent. Suggs led the team with eight sacks, but the 15-year vet­eran ap­peared tired at the end of the sea­son.

De­fen­sive end Timmy Jerni­gan had five and Judon fin­ished with four but sel­dom did they come through in crunch time.

Pees tried a num­ber of dif­fer­ent looks and pres­sures but the prob­lem was two-fold. Ex­otic blitzes leave cor­ner­backs iso­lated one-on-one and the Ravens cor­ners weren’t phys­i­cal enough to press re­ceivers at the line of scrim­mage.

So the Ravens ei­ther had to gam­ble or stay some­what ba­sic. Their 8-8 fi­nal record tells the story. But if Wil­liams and Pierce

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.