Baltimore Ravens' Defense: What To Expect in '09

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Baltimore Ravens' Defense: What To Expect in '09
(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.

 

Cornerbacks

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

 

Safeties

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.

 

Linebackers

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.

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