On Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens’ running back corps have their toughest challenge yet; they are facing the best run-defense in the NFL in the New York Jets. With so little success on the ground this season, one has to wonder if John Harbaugh will shelve the running game altogether at least for this game. Or will he push his running tandem deep into the belly of the beast?
With the possible return of Dennis Pitta and Marlon Brown combined with the rest of our receiving corps, Baltimore could run five-receiver sets all day Sunday in hopes that they could exploit the horrible 22 ranked pass-defense. This can actually be done through the West-Coast type scheme. In this scheme, the quick underneath passes could be used in place of the run in order to set up the deep passes over the top. The pump-fake would substitute for play-action in this situation and is a perfect way to even confuse their newest Ball-Hawk, Ed Reed.
However, there is another factor that comes into play; that factor is pride. R. Buckminster Fuller said, “don’t fight forces, use them.” If Harbaugh’s pride gets the best of him by forcing the ground game instead of dominating the air, the Ravens could be facing a lot of three-and-outs.
Through the air or on the ground, the Jets are not just going to roll over and take it. There is a reason Rex Ryan was our Defensive Coordinator once and ran schemes so complex that media named it “organized chaos”. However, if Harbaugh capitalizes on the Jets’ weaknesses, the team could make Ryan’s defense pay big for their lack of discipline on the back end.