Baltimore Ravens' Defense: What To Expect in '09

Sam SnyderCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 4:  Safety Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens returns an interception for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in an NFL Wildcard Playoff Game at Dolphins Stadium on January 4, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The 2008 Raven's had a lot to be proud of, especially the defense. There are now some holes to be filled on the team with several offseason losses, Corey Ivy, Bart Scott, and Jim Leonhard. This is an overview of the replacements and the returners.

I will use the most state-of-the-art and high-tech stat projecting and grading system, also know as my noggin.



No. 22 Samari Rolle

Strengths: Coverage, pass blocking

Weaknesses: Age, tackling

Grade: B-

Projected stats: 35 tackles, five deflections, one interception. 11 INT yards


No. 31 Fabian Washington

Strengths: Speed, coverage, pass blocking

Weaknesses: Small stature, tackling

Grade: B

Projected stats: 33 tackles, seven deflections, three interceptions, .5 sacks, 75 INT yards


No. 24 Domonique Foxworth

Strengths: Speed, pass blocking, coverage, tackling

Weaknesses: Small stature

Grade: B+

Projected Stats: 41 tackles, seven deflections, three interceptions, one sack, 83 INT yards


No. 29 Chris Carr

Strengths: Speed, kick/punt returns, special teams

Weaknesses: Coverage, tackling

Grade: Returns: A; Corner: B-

Projected stats: 32 attempts, 780 yards, one touchdown; no cornerback play



No. 28 Tom Zibikowski, SS

Strengths: Tackling, kick/punt returns, speed

Weaknesses: Coverage

Grade: Returns: B+; Strong safety: B

Projected stats: 27 attempts, 505 yards; five tackles.


No. 43 Haruki Nakamura, FS

Strengths: Hitting, tackling, coverage, speed, deflections, special teams, blitzing

Weaknesses: Inexperienced

Grade: A-

Projected stats: 22 tackles, five deflections, two interceptions, 32 INT yards, 2.5 sacks


No. 26 Dawan Landry, SS

Strengths: Hitting, tackling, speed, deflections, intercepting, blitzing, special teams, coverage

Weaknesses: Returning after neck injury

Grade: A+

Projected stats: 38 tackles, 10 deflections, five interceptions, 50 INT yards, one touchdown, three sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries. Pro Bowl selection.


No. 20 Ed Reed, FS

Strengths: Coverage, speed, intercepting, INT returns, takeaways, fumbles, blitzing, deflections, hitting, tackling, special teams.

Weaknesses: None

Grade: A++

Projected stats: 45 tackles, 10 deflections, 11 interceptions, 100 INT yards, three touchdowns, 3.5 sacks, one blocked punt. Pro Bowl selection, First Team All-Pro, Defensive Player of the Year


Defensive Linemen

No. 93 Dwan Edwards

Strengths: Pass rushing, speed, tackling

Weaknesses: Pass blocking, blitzing

Grade: B

Projected stats: 15 tackles, one for a loss


No. 94 Justin Bannan

Strengths: Pass rushing, blitzing, tackling

Weaknesses: Speed, pass blocking

Grade: B+

Projected stats: 23 tackles, three for a loss, 1.5 sacks


No. 90 Trevor Pryce

Strengths: Blitzing, tackling, pass rushing, pass blocking, speed

Weaknesses: Age

Grade: A

Projected stats: 35 tackles, five for a loss, three sacks, one forced fumble


No. 97 Kelly Gregg

Strengths: Pass rushing, pass blocking, blitzing, tackling

Weaknesses: Speed, age

Grade A-

Projected stats 40 tackles, four for a loss, 3.5 sacks


No. 92 Haloti Ngata

Strengths: Pass blocking, pass rushing, tackling, blitzing

Weaknesses: Speed

Grade: A

Projected stats: 49 tackles, six for a loss, six sacks, one interception, zero INT yards, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery.



No. 50 Antwaan Barnes

Strengths: Speed, pass rushing, tackling, special teams

Weaknesses: Pass blocking, blitzing, coverage

Grade: B-

Projected stats: 27 tackles, .5 sacks


No. 56 Tavares Gooden

Strengths: Pass rushing, blitzing, tackling, speed

Weaknesses: Inexperienced, pass blocking,

Grade: B

Projected stats: 24 tackles, two for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble


No. 53 Jameel McClain

Strengths: Pass rushing, pass blocking, blitzing, tackling, safeties, special teams

Weaknesses: Inexperienced, speed, coverage

Grade: B

Projected stats: 40 tackles, three for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one safety


No. 51 Brendon Ayanbendejo

Strengths: Tackling, hitting speed, pass rushing, blitzing, special teams

Weaknesses: Pass blocking, coverage

Grade: B+

Projected stats: 48 tackles, two forced fumbles, one sack, Pro Bowl Special Teamer


No. 95 Jarrett Johnson

Strengths: Pass rushing, pass blocking, tackling, blitzing, intercepting, coverage

Weaknesses: Speed

Grade: A-

Projected stats: 57 tackles, two deflections three for a loss, six sacks, one interception, five INT yards, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery


No. 52 Ray Lewis

Strengths: Leadership, hitting, tackling, pass rushing, pass blocking, blitzing, coverage, speed, intercepting,

Weaknesses: Age

Grade: A+

Projected stats: 62 tackles, five for a loss, four deflections, 7.5 sacks, two interceptions, 25 INT yards, two forced fumbles, Pro-Bowl selection, First Team All-Pro


No. 55 Terrell Suggs

Strengths: Tackling, hitting, blitzing, pass rushing, pass blocking, intercepting, coverage

Weaknesses: None

Grade: A+

Projected stats: 68 tackles, five deflections, 13.5 sacks, two interceptions, one touchdown, 38 INT yards, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery. Pro Bowl selection, First Team All-Pro


Well, there you have it. An overview of all the playmakers on the Ravens defense. As for team rankings and how they compare with others, I have that for you as well:

Yards per game: Second

Points per game: First

Against the run: Second

Against the pass: Third

Takeaways: First

Scoring: First

Overall league ranking: Second. As much as I hate the Steelers, there is no denying that they are absolutely loaded on defense, and haven't changed much in the offseason.

Predicted record: 10-6 or 11-5. They have a murderous schedule this year, but they have the personnel to overcome it.

I hope you found this informative, feel free to leave any comments, questions or concerns, or if you just want to blast me with hate.