Stop Tampa’s Rushing Attack
The Baltimore Ravens are ranked 9th in the league at stopping the run, allowing 101.8 yards a game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team that uses the run to set up the passing game. Their rushing attack is ranked 12th overall (117.8 yards per game), but they’re also 22nd in passing (207.2 yards a game). Bucs Rookie RB Legarrett Blount, a big back at 247 pounds, is having an outstanding season averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Cadillac Williams is also an effective runner and in last week’s game against San Francisco, he had 7 carries for 51 yards— including a key 26 yard run. Slowing down both these backs should be a priority for the Ravens defense in this game.
Playing the run
A true commitment to defending the run is placing 8 defenders in the box. What’s troubling for some fans is that opponents have been able to gash the Ravens D a few times per game for substantial gains. The D-line needs to control their gaps better and the tacklers must wrap up at the point of attack.
Attacking the run
Like last week, aggressive play from SS Dwan Landry might be in the works. Landry had one of his better games last week and attacked the line of scrimmage with good results. On a few occasions, he anticipated the snap and ran into the backfield from the edge to disrupt the play for key losses. As pointed out by Ravens LB Jarret Johnson,”You’ve got to disrupt [Blount] in the backfield and can’t let him build his momentum.”
Establishing a lead
The Ravens needs to score early and get Tampa Bay out of their game plan of running the ball.
But getting the lead won’t be so easy, as Tampa features excellent corners and utilizes the ‘Tampa 2 or Cover 2 (a defensive formation that Joe Flacco has struggled against). So what does all this mean? It means that Flacco has to be patient. The Cover 2 takes away the big plays, but it opens up things like screens, underneath routes, and gaps in the coverage away from the safeties.
Giving Tampa a Taste of Their Own Medicine
Tampa ranks 29th against the run, allowing 136.5 yards a game. In a true Tampa 2, the middle linebacker has a lot of ground to cover the run and pass. These two factors give Ray Rice an advantage because he is a speedy receiver as well. Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron should look to get Rice heavily involved in this match-up.