Baltimore Ravens Defense is Not What We Thought It Was

Jarrett CarterAnalyst IOctober 11, 2009

BALTIMORE - OCTOBER 5:  Chris McAlister #21 of the Baltimore Ravens gets ready on the field during the game against the Tennessee Titans on October 5, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Forget blaming the offense for the Ravens’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals; this one was totally on the defense.

It matters not how much pressure they can get from the interior line or the linebackers, because now we see just how much of a genius Rex Ryan was with this defense, and just how good a focused Chris McAlister and healthy Samari Rolle meant to this team.

Forget the referees, forget everything else. The Ravens have zero talent at corner back, and are more undisciplined in their assignments than they’ve been in at least five years.

There’s no way Ray Lewis, a Hall of Fame linebacker and probably the greatest linebacker of all-time, should be getting NFL-to-not-fine-Lewis-for-hard-hit" target="_blank">an unnecessary roughness call in a last-minute defensive possession against a divisional rival.

There’s no way that Ravens corner backs should be getting eaten up on nearly every possession by every offense they’ve faced this season. They kept Chad Ochocinco out of the end zone, but save for two drops by their tight end, the score would’ve been much more disparate than the 17-14 final.

Now I see why Rex Ryan’s blitzes were so exotic. He blitzed with corners and safeties, not because it was cute or so crafty that no one would figure it out, but because the CBs generally can’t cover. They aren’t big enough, they aren’t physical enough, and for as much as they are thoroughly beaten on routes with double moves, they aren’t coached up enough.

Which makes you think about how good McAlister and Rolle were. They had their share of tense moments and relinquished big plays, but you could depend on them for clutch technique in tight situations. And even if they were beaten, at least they were close enough to make tackles or keep the play for advancing for big yards.

Things are so bad, that I find myself agreeing totally with Sun columnist and general clown Mike Preston’s assessment of the game.

"Forget about all this talk about a change in defensive scheme from a year ago. Cincinnati left a lot of points on the field because the Ravens don’t have any cornerbacks who can cover man to man.

Nickel back Chris Carr? Too soft. Starting cornerback Domonique Foxworth? He has no physical presence and has lost his confidence. He can’t find himself or the ball. Fabian Washington? He might be the best on the roster after rookie Lardarius Webb, and that’s not saying a lot.

During the offseason, the Ravens signed Foxworth to a four-year contract worth $16.5 million in guaranteed money, and Carr to a two-year deal estimated at $5 million.

It might be time to ask for a refund or a rebate."

The Ravens can still contend for a Super Bowl. There’s no way a road loss to the New England Patriots and a close home loss to a revitalized Cincinnati Bengals squad will change that. But the Achilles heel of this team is its defensive back play, and unless they make some free agent moves or trades very soon, the rest of the league is going to catch up swiftly on how to soundly beat the Ravens.