Ravens Roost

April 28, 2010 4:49 PM

Ravens look to harass opposing QBs this year

If there was one glaring weakness of the Ravens defense last season it was their failuresuggs-eli.jpg to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Their season total of 32 sacks was tied for the lowest amount by any Raven team. It often exposed the Ravens mediocre secondary and cost the team a number of games, such as the high scoring affair against Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.

The team knew they had to address the situation and so far they've added a few more pieces to the puzzle. You could say the Ravens are planning on doing a little head hunting this season.

One of the biggest reasons the Ravens sack total was down last year can be blamed on one highly paid (you might say overpaid) and under motivated player, and that would be Terrell Suggs.  Suggs held out of camp, as most in his contract situation do, but failed to properly prepare himself on his own. He started the season quite a bit overweight and never did seem to get himself into top football shape the entire year. I believe team management let him know in no uncertain terms that he had better shape up after the team invested a huge sum of money on him. Well, it seems Suggs can take a hint as he has been a regular at the Ravens training facility for most of the off season. I'm sure many of his friends had ragged him as well which made Suggs see the error of his ways.

On the other side of the defensive line you had Trevor Pryce, who lead the team with 6 1/2 sacks. But Pryce is getting up there in age and by the end of the season he was only seeing the field on 3rd downs for the most part. Jarret Johnson was second on the list with 6 sacks and had a stellar season overall, but after those two there wasn't much pressure coming from the rest of the defensive players.

With the departure of Justin Bannan and Dwan Edwards the team, or more succinctly Ozzie Newsome knew he had to bring in players who could be more effective putting heat on the competitions quarterbacks, hence the addition of Terrence Cody and Sergio Kindle in this years draft. While many wouldn't look at Cody and think of him being a big sack guy his importance comes in a different form, the ability to collapse the pocket. If you remember back in 2000 the Ravens had Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams up front and they took up two offensive linemen apiece. That left Peter Boulware and Michael McCrary free to reek havoc on the quarterback. That's the thinking behind the addition of Cody, who teamed with Haloti Ngata should be able to dominate the point of attack.

Sergio Kindle has the attitude that the Ravens love, he's bold, brash, and a bit cocky, all of which should translate into a hard nosed player giving 110% on each and every play. His goal is to become the rookie of the year this season so I would think he's out to make a name for himself. Kindle will line up opposite Suggs and his speed should provide a nice compliment to Suggs raw power. Kindle will only see limited playing time to start the season but if he plays the way the coaches think he can you'll see his playing time increase dramatically.

Also the Ravens have seen to it that last years 2nd round pick, Paul Kruger, has added more muscle and beefed himself up to 270 pounds. Kruger is known to have the type of motor that Michael McCrary had, one that is non stop and only knows how to move forward. It wouldn't surprise me that the team gave him McCrary's old number because they saw the similarities. A rotation of Johnson, Suggs, Kindle, Pryce and Kruger should provide much better pressure on the quarterback then was the case a season ago with the addition of Kindle and the bulking up of Kruger being the biggest changes. Also a rotation of Ngata, Kelley Gregg, Cody, Brandon McKinney and the newly acquired Cory Redding in  the middle should be an upgrade from last season.

 I'm sure that the coaches have been working on plans to increase the sack total since the end of last season and Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will have an easier time with most of the defensive players already immersed in his defensive philosophy. If I were a quarterback that has to go up against the Ravens this season I'd be a little nervous, and I just might want to take out an extra insurance policy just for good measure. 

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