Ravens’ pass rush pushes to improve
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