Ok, the Ravens, unlike many other NFL teams, are truly correcting the few mistakes that they made last season. In their last season, defense was less of a priority — because their offense was so dang good. With Lamar Jackson at QB, Mark Ingram II at RB, and Willie Snead at WR, they truly distinguished themselves above their other offensive opponents. But because they were so offensively centered, they couldn’t make it all the way to the Super Bowl, despite many people who were witnessing their incredible season guessing they would win it all.
The real problem came down to the AFC Divisional Round — where they had to face the Tennessee Titans. Baltimore just couldn’t stop the run. Derrick Henry had 195 yards and averaged 6.5 a carry. This was incredibly problematic for the Ravens because towards the end it seemed like the defensive front had just given up as Tennessee continued to get first down after first down.
Baltimore had an incredible regular season last year, but most of it came from Lamar Jackson’s breakout year. Not from their defense. They knew that had to change, so in free agency they decided to land some top-defensive free agents.
The first move that came into play was picking up Domato Peko from the Denver Broncos in November. Peko is great at the defensive tackle position because he can stop the run by plugging up the line-openings consistently with his weight (which half of it probably comes from his hair).
The second significant pickup that the Ravens were able to pull off was Calais Campbell from the Jacksonville Jaguars. This trade included Campbell going to Baltimore and a 2020 fifth-round pick going to Jacksonville. It genuinely doesn’t quite make sense. The Ravens must’ve made the Jaguars an offer that they couldn’t refuse. Or, in a more realistic standpoint, they must’ve just wanted to get rid of him because when comparing a Pro Bowl defensive end in a trade, a fifth round pick is next-to-nothing. Jacksonville will miss out on a good one though, as one of my NFL sources say that he is probably the “hardest person to block in the NFL,” or at least the hardest that my source has had to block before.
Unfortunately, the Ravens lost defensive lineman Michael Brockers to the Rams, but they quickly found the silver lining behind the Brockers cloud with a third addition to their defensive line.
The third main deal that the Ravens got was Derek Wolfe from the Denver Broncos. Denver probably didn’t want to pay Wolfe, particularly because of his age. Wolfe is a great defensive end, but he is becoming more injury-prone as he has gotten older. Getting rid of him will make Von Miller the only player left on the Broncos from their legendary Super Bowl 50 win. But Wolfe adds a new aspect to the Ravens D. He is a great pass-rusher and is just a machine. He, plus the force of nature in Campbell, will have the offensive tackles on any team exhausted early on in the game.
Whenever Lamar Jackson was on last season, the Ravens were impossible to stop. They only lost momentum last season in their game against the Titans, and it was because of the incredible success of Derrick Henry — rushing through and past their defensive line. Since Baltimore will be incredibly hard to beat defensively this season, their offense will follow suit — making their team the most competitive squad in the American Football Conference in the 2020-2021 NFL Season. Perhaps “the greatest defense can beat the greatest offense,” after all.