It must be disheartening to go into your Bye after an absolute beatdown by the Bengals leaves you with more questions than answers about your team going forward. So much for an opportunity to relax a little and enjoy the down time…
Per Kevin Eck of the Ravens’ media department:
Pundits Say Secondary Is ‘Major Concern’ for Ravens
There was optimism that the Ravens’ pass defense had turned a corner after it shut down Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers’ explosive offense in Week 6. But those positive feelings were shattered a week later when Joe Burrow threw for 416 yards and three touchdowns in the Cincinnati Bengals’ 41-17 rout of the Ravens.
Two pundits believe the Chargers game was the outlier and said there should be major concern about the secondary going forward.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, who does color commentary for the Chargers games on KFI radio, attributed the Chargers’ weak offensive performance (six points, 208 total yards, 182 passing yards) to Herbert and company just having a bad game.
“I came into that game and I watched the tape of the Ravens defense, and I saw Derek Carr torch them. And then I watched Carson Wentz torch them,” Jeremiah said on the “Rich Eisen Show.” “And then coming into that game, I thought Herbert would go off and the Chargers’ passing game would go off, and they just had a clunker of a game. And then the next week, Joe Burrow torches them.
“So I think the Ravens have major issues in the secondary, and for some reason the Chargers just weren’t able to capitalize on them that day.”
NFL Network’s Matt Smith, who does play-by-play on Chargers’ radio broadcasts, expressed a similar sentiment.
“To me, that was just an outlier,” Smith said. “The Chargers played terrible. They absolutely got whupped by the Ravens, and that’s fine. But you look at Derek Carr, 400-plus yards; you look at Joe Burrow, 400-plus yards; the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes put up like 350 and three touchdowns.
“They are giving up giant numbers to opposing quarterbacks because that secondary has got holes all over the place, and to me that is a major concern for this team moving forward.”
It’s unfair not to give credit to the Ravens for their defensive game plan and execution against the Chargers, but there’s no disputing the secondary has uncharacteristically struggled this season.
While losing All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters to a season-ending knee injury a few days before the start of the regular season undoubtedly was a significant blow, the Ravens’ secondary still was expected to be one of the team’s strengths.
Instead, the Ravens are ranked 29th in the league in passing yards allowed. They were in the top 10 in each of the six previous seasons and no lower than sixth the past three seasons.
“The Ravens have allowed more passing yards through seven games than any team in franchise history,” The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec wrote. “They’ve been victimized by three 400-yard passers. That obviously reflects poorly on the team’s current [cornerback] corps although it isn’t all on them. The Ravens’ linebackers and safeties have had a hand in it as well.
“Still, it’s been a struggle for a group that badly misses Marcus Peters’ playmaking ability and leadership. Former All-Pro Marlon Humphrey has been the face of those struggles. Pretty much all of the cornerbacks have had some costly missed tackles as well, so it’s just not been a coverage issue.”
Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt said earlier this week that he’s confident the secondary will improve.
“We’re going to get better over the bye,” Hewitt said. “We’ve had some bumps in the road. We’ll keep on working our technique. The message hasn’t changed; the sky is not falling or anything like that. We’re in a good position, and we’re just going to continue to keep on getting better.”
On QB Lamar Jackson, Zrebiec wrote: “You can nitpick if you’re so inclined. Lamar Jackson has turned the ball over eight times. He’s been sacked 21 times, some of them resulting from holding onto the ball too long. The Ravens’ offense has been plagued by slow starts. However, Jackson has given his team a chance to win every week and is the primary reason the injury-weakened Ravens have five victories. … Jackson has been one of the NFL’s best players by just about every measure. If he stays healthy and keeps playing as he has to this point, the Ravens have a good chance to get where they want to be in January.”
The inside linebackers received the lowest grade (D).
“The Ravens’ inside linebackers have been taken advantage of in coverage. The tackling, specifically with [Patrick] Queen, has been bad at times, too,” Zrebiec wrote. “The insertion of Josh Bynes has settled things down, but if the Ravens’ defense is going to improve the rest of the way, it will have to start with much steadier play from the inside linebackers.”