Linemen: Subtle defensive adjustments work

Linemen: Subtle defensive adjustments work
November 5, 2012, 3:00 pm
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There were no bigger smiles than from the Ravens defense, who took pride in their improved performance at the Cleveland Browns coming off a bye week.

One of the NFL worst units held up five times in the red zone, forcing Cleveland to settle for five field goals when they moved the ball inside the Ravens' 20-yard line.

"We don't let guys in the end zone," lineman Terrence Cody said. "You can do what you want to do but we refuse to let you in the end zone."

Rookie running back Trent Richardson had his third 100-yard game of the season for Cleveland, but he wasn't effective in the second half when he was held to 29 yards.

Defensive end Arthur Jones, who replaced the injured Pernell McPhee in the starting lineup, pointed to the adjustments made by the coaching staff that shifted him inside while putting tackle Haloti Ngata on the outside. Also, linebacker Terrell Suggs was put opposite Ngata.

"It's a great mix up. We're just going to keep building it, keep getting better," Jones said. "It was a great game plan. Coaches switched us all up.

"It gives our defense a little bit more balance. Not having Haloti and Terrell on the same side, it was just a different look for this week."

Maintaining gap assignments helped as well. In the first half, the Ravens weren't as good at doing that which allowed Richardson to find space.

"It was more of people staying in their gap. Once you get out of your gap, he jump cuts and makes one cut and he's upfield," Cody said. "That's one thing that makes him really good. He has real good patience."

The Ravens had a similar performance against the Kansas City Chiefs for a 9-6 victory. They allowed Jamaal Charles to rush for 140 yards but they kept him out of the end zone and shut him down in the second half. They also forced turnovers on their half of the field, including in a goal-line situation, to help a struggling offense.

The Ravens also forced two turnovers while their offense didn't commit any Sunday.

Like the Chiefs with Matt Cassel, however, the Browns don't have a quarterback or receivers who are serious threats. Brandon Weeden threw for 320 yards in a 23-16 loss in Baltimore in the first meeting. He only had 176 Sunday. 

Adjusting the defense to contain power running teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers who the Ravens will play twice within the next month, could be on the menu for the rest of the season.

"It depends on who we're playing, what type of running team they are. Some teams, the zone (blocking) is their thing," Cody said. "(Cleveland) is more of a power team so we just did more of a leverage thing up front. That's what we have to do."

Jones looks forward to it.

"Absolutely, because we got so much talent on our defensive line," he said. "It doesn't show if you look at the yards and stuff like that. We're getting wins. That's the most important part. We're going to be the best that we can be."