Following the first two weeks of the regular season the Baltimore Ravens defense had been referred to as the best defense in the NFL.
Allowing only ten points and causing just as many turnovers the Ravens looked ready to ride the defense back to the postseason after missing the cut the past two seasons and three of the last four.
Following week threes blowout loss to the Jaguars in London the Ravens realized the defense has the potential to be special but first they must address their weaknesses if this defense wants to be one of the league’s best.
Despite the defense causing just as many turnovers as points allowed through the first two weeks, at the postgame press conference defensive stars, Terrell Suggs and Eric Weddle, focused on the issues surrounding the defense rather than its successes. Weddle pressed the importance of how necessary it was for the defense to stop allowing big plays.
“we made too many mistakes, too many blown coverages, too many big plays as a defense, so we are not happy about the performance we had.” Weddle said. “We let those mistakes creep in and [if] we don’t fix them, it’s going to hurt us down the road.”
Despite the Ravens offense providing little help Weddle isn’t wrong, the defense does need work. Through three weeks the Ravens have allowed the 17th most passing yards per game at 227 YPG and rank 18th in total defense allowing 339 YPG. As well, the defense has allowed twelve plays of at least twenty yards including six different Browns receivers in Week Two.
Despite the lapses through the first two weeks the defense managed to force three turnovers inside their own ten-yard line with their backs against the wall. If these possessions would have resulted in scores rather than turnovers would the defense have had the same hype going into London?
In Week Three the Blake Bortles led Jaguars exploited the holes in the Ravens defense and made sure to not turn the ball over when they entered the red zone. The Jaguars scored on seven different possessions inside the ravens redzone and focused on not forcing a play knowing what the defense is capable of.
By focusing on playing safe and taking what the defense gives you the Jaguars proved to the rest of the league that the Ravens defense isn’t as impenetrable as some thought before.
During the offseason, the Ravens front office main focus was to improve the secondary, which has been the biggest defensive weakness over the past few years. By bringing in Tony Jefferson and Brandon Carr in Free Agency as well as drafting Marlon Humphries in the first round of the past draft the front office hoped that not only would the secondary be better than seasons past but that it could become one of the best secondary units in the league.
Through three weeks we have seen the potential this Ravens defense has but they have some time to go. When Terrell Suggs was asked why he doesn’t focus on the good things the defense has done he said, “Because we still have not played our best football. We can be better.”
Although the defense has been stellar at points they still can’t be considered one of the great defensive units, but if the defense patches up some of their issues they have the chance to be great.