Perched atop the arduous AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens are soaring right now.
Winners of four straight, including blowouts of NFC stalwarts the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks, the Ravens are starting to get their due.
Is their defense getting the flowers it deserves, though? It is from Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson at least, who views the defense as a peerless unit.
“Not trying to toot our own horn, but I believe our defense has no weakness,” Jackson said Wednesday, via team transcript, when asked how practicing against the Ravens defense makes him better. “Just from the defensive line, the linebackers, the secondary, how they’re flying around and disguising defenses – making it look like one coverage, but it’s something else – and how they time up their blitzes, it helps us out a lot, because when we’re playing other teams, they’re flying around and giving us their best shot. It’s like we’re seeing one of the best defenses every day.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen concurred with Jackson’s sentiments on the defense.
“I definitely agree,” Queen said. “If we all lock in and do what we’re capable of each play, lock in, communicate, play as hard as we can and have the best technique we can, there shouldn’t be anybody that should be able to stop us. The only people that can stop us is us.”
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As referenced by Jackson, Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s ability to disguise schemes and put the opposition at unease has been stellar. Baltimore’s defense is first in points per game allowed, second in total yards per game allowed, second in passing YPG allowed, first in sack per game and first in opposing QB rating.
“I feel like we are getting more respect, but I feel that it’s still not the respect that we want,” Queen said. “Honestly, we haven’t accomplished the things that we want to accomplish yet, so I feel like there is a lot of respect out there to still be taken.”
Heading into a par-for-the-course AFC North slobberknocker Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens will share the field with another top-ranked defense with a black-and-blue opportunity to show just where they stack up in the NFL hierarchy.
Cleveland’s defense ranks first in total yards per game allowed and passing YPG allowed.
A matchup opposite another elite defense is grounds for a little extra motivation in Queen’s mind.
“It’s a lot of motivation,” he said. “It’s a lot of talk right now, and we just want to talk with our pads, honestly. We just want to go out there and dominate one play at a time, have fun with it, talk a little trash on the field and go at it again.”
In Week 3, the Ravens smothered the Browns (without Deshaun Watson) for a 28-3 victory.
Queen and Co. are looking for a repeat performance, and Jackson most certainly believes the Ravens defense has the ability to do just that.
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