Greg Mattison, the Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator, will find his secondary in a difficult spot with the likelihood of cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb, along with safety Ed Reed missing some games this season. The replacements in the secondary will certainly be under some pressure, but one way to take that pressure off the secondary is getting to the quarterback. Blitzing more will help, right?
Well, Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports, has another solution for the Ravens. Farrar takes a detailed look at the Ravens secondary and gets into some “X’s and O’s.” He points out how Baltimore was vulnerable when they faced shotgun sets.
So, what is his answer for the defense? “Look to blitz, drop to cover.” Farrar stated,
“…bringing a pressure look, forcing an offense to adjust, and then calling off the dogs is an optimal path to defensive success when your cornerbacks need more help than the elite.
But as described by BaltimoreRavens.com, “Coach Mattison’s approach is more traditional. He relies on the defensive line to get pressure on the quarterback and preaches gap discipline to stop the run.” An interesting stat is the team blitzed about the same amount of times as they did the previous year with Coach Rex Ryan. However, timing is everything and it seemed early on in the season the blitz packages weren’t as effective.
One thing fans may have been frustrated with last year was the lack of utilizing personnel, such as implementing more pressure packages with players like Antwan Barnes and Jameel McClain. It would have been interesting to see some calls where Paul Kruger and Terrell Suggs were on the field going after the quarterback together. With the addition of rookie Sergio Kindle, an effective pass rusher, the team may look to include more of these substitution/pressure packages.
Let’s not forget how the Ravens went through a tough defensive transition when Mattison replaced Rex Ryan as the new defensive coordinator last year. Coach Mattison was under the microscope and faced much criticism for the first six games of the 2009 season. Fortunately, the defense got over the transition process and still ended up as one of the top defenses in the league— even with Ed Reed absent throughout the year.
The first 6 games will be crucial for the Ravens season and each opponent will bring their own set of challenges— each game plan will vary to the next. We know the team wasn’t too happy with their mediocre pass rush and low sack totals last year, so don’t be surprised to see different defensive schemes this year.
So, what do you think? Should the Ravens bring more blitzes, bring more heat? Or should they “Look to blitz, drop and cover?” What’s your strategy?