Are Ravens headed for defensive makeover in Offseason?
In what has been one of the most bizarre NFL seasons in recent memory, perhaps it is fitting that the Ravens defense, which is usually among the best in the league, ranked 25th overall and 31st against the pass.
On the positive side, the Ravens are No. 1 in third-down defense and red-zone defense and No. 2 against the run. However, the defense is often hurt by big plays due in large part to poor tackling and communication issues.
Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec said the Ravens were headed for a defensive makeover this offseason even if the unit plays better the rest of the way.
“Changes must be made on each level defensively, and the Ravens need to become younger, faster and more dynamic,” Zrebiek wrote.
Two areas that Zrebiec feels they will have to address are the defensive inside and outside linebacker.
“On the defensive interior, [Calais] Kembel, [Brandon] Williams and [Justin] Ellis are all pending free agents, and the feeling around the team is that Campbell, a franchise favorite, will strongly consider retiring this offseason, “Zrebiek wrote.[Derek] Wolfe still has two years left on his contract, but the Ravens would have to feel good about where he is physically for him to be back. At the very least, the Ravens will need to add at least two inside defensive linemen this offseason to touch [Justin] Madubeik. The younger, the better.
“In Outdoor Linebacker, [Pernell] McPhee and Justin Houston are pending free agents, and there are no assurances that [Jaylon] Ferguson, who has not made a defensive impact, will be back too. Rookie first-round pick Odafe Oweh has a bright future and [Tyus] Bowser’s versatility is important, but the Ravens badly need one or two high-impact pass rushers off the edge.