The Baltimore Ravens‘ defense against the Carolina Panthers looked like their old selves this past Thursday, by not allowing an offensive touchdown, and stopping the run by only giving up 3.1 yards-per carry. The pass-rush is as strong as it has ever been, with Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil coming on strong off the edge, and the defensive line, featuring Haloti Ngata, is once again controlling the pocket.
After a lackluster performance in their second preseason game, the Ravens made it a point to get back on track. Yes, it is a preseason game, but the Ravens want to win all the time, and look good doing it. They want it to become an obsession, and it is safe to say that it is an obsession, as they are the defending Super Bowl champions.
Many have speculated how the Ravens’ defense would look without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. To some degree, I was one of those people. The Ravens have never experienced a season without Lewis, in particular. But so far, inside linebacker Daryl Smith seems to be fitting in nicely in the spot Lewis coveted for 17 seasons. Rookie inside linebacker Arthur Brown is also doing very well in pass-defense, as he tries to ease himself into the starting lineup.
The question that people always ask is, “How will the Ravens replace Lewis and Reed”? I don’t think replace is the right word to describe the situation. I think a better question is, “How will the Ravens evolve with Lewis and Reed gone?” The potential for this defense entering the 2013 season is legitimate, and some people might get caught by surprise by how good they might be. But the players on the Ravens’ practice field certainly won’t be.
“With all the different guys we got on the D-line, the rotation we could possibly have up there, the new guys at linebacker, and the speed we got on the defensive backs, it can be an unbelievable defense out there,” Ravens’ cornerback Corey Graham noted to Baltimoreravens.com in June. “We see it. We definitely see it. We will continue to work as hard as we possibly can to make it happen.”