One of the best things the defense did in last Sunday's rout of the Raiders was make life tough for quarterback Carson Palmer at the line of scrimmage. And they did it in a very simple way -- putting their hands up a lot.
That's a big reason the Ravens were able to tip or deflect six different passes. Coach John Harbaugh complimented his defense on that after Sunday's game and talked about it again earlier this week when speaking to the media while the Ravens were preparing for the Steelers.
"We’ve been trying to get that for a while," Harbaugh said. "There [are] a lot of things that build into it – a lot of assignment things and technique things. And to see that happen as a coach [is rewarding]."
Terrell Suggs got his hands in Palmer's way, and Paul Kruger did the same. In fact, Kruger knocked a ball straight up into the air and picked it off to set up three of the Ravens' points in the 55-20 rouf of the Raiders.
That jumping and/or hands up strategy could be even more important this week because Byron Leftwich is now going to start for the Steelers due to the injury to Ben Roethlisberger. Leftwich is very much a pocket passer and probably won't be running around much as Big Ben likes to.
If the Ravens can get their hands up a lot once more, they should be able to deflect something at some point. If the Ravens can keep doing that on a regular basis, it's just another weapon for the defense, something else they can use to help out.
"Whenever things start to fall in place that way with a technique, and when you get the results with production like we did with the batted balls, that’s a pretty rewarding feeling," Harbaugh said. "I thought our guys did a great job with that.”