Versatility a strength of Ravens defense

Versatility a strength of Ravens defense
August 11, 2013, 7:00 am
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How will starters shake out in the Ravens secondary?

EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens on Sunday, August 11, as they prepare for their 5 p.m. practice at M @ T Bank Stadium. 

Two-minute topic: Will the Ravens’ defense be more versatile than 2012?

The defense won’t necessarily be better, but it should be more versatile.  Coordinator Dean Pees has plenty of options.

He can use outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil to attack the edge in passing situations. Run stuffing outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw is available for short-yardage packages. Rookie linebacker Arthur Brown has looked good in pass coverage, while both Daryl Smith and Josh Bynes have been quick to the ball on running plays.

In the secondary, safeties, Michael Huff, James Ihedigbo, are all sure tacklers, capable of playing both safety spots. None of them possess Ed Reed’s uncanny instincts. However, the Ravens may play their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage, allowing them to support the run better than Reed, who liked to roam centerfield.

Up front, Arthur Jones and Chris Canty are capable of playing both defensive end and defensive tackle.

The Ravens are still trying to figure out which combinations work best. But regardless of who starts, expect at least 15 Ravens on defense to see consistent playing time.

“We have a lot of guys who can play a lot of different positions,” coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s what we’ve always tried to do here, but we probably have a few more pieces. That remains to be proven, but it feels like we might have a few more pieces than we had last year.”

The key is fitting those pieces together. However, if the Ravens don’t play well defensively, not having enough depth won’t be the reason.

Morning thought:

Harbaugh on the toughness of wide receiver LaQuan Williams – “Here’s a guy that a week ago had a shoulder issue that would have kept a lot of guys out for a couple weeks. He played with it and was rewarded. That’s a good lesson for guys trying to earn their way in this league.” 

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