Sep 25, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory (33) is brought down by Baltimore Ravens strong safety Eric Weddle (32) during the second half of a football game at EverBank FieldThe Baltimore Ravens won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Ravens are undefeated and Dean Pees Deserves a ton of credit:
If you’re looking for a man to credit for the 3-0 start, look no farther than Dean Pees. The Ravens defensive coordinator is making the most out of improved personnel and is pulling the right strings. The Ravens offense has struggled. The defense is once again carrying the purple and black.
The defensive unit is doing a great job of getting off the field. Ravens opponents are 17-44 on 3rd down conversions. That is just over 38 percent. The Ravens have sacked opposing quarterbacks nine times and have five interceptions. The offense may be struggling but they have earned 16 more first downs than their opponents.
After three weeks of the season the Ravens have the second ranked defense in the NFL. Against the pass the Ravens are third. While the Ravens are 8th against the run. Remember, Isiah Crowell had one big run against the Ravens. It was the only big play the Ravens have allowed on the ground. If Baltimore continues stellar defensive play they should finish in the top 10 of both categories.
The purple and black now have a top tier defense. Points are everything in football. The final outcome of the game is all that really matters. The Ravens have given up 14.7 points per game; a total which equals fourth best in the league.
Sep 25, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens free safety Lardarius Webb (21) tips the ball to his teammate causing an interception as Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns (88) looks on during the second half of a football game at EverBank FieldThe Baltimore Ravens won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
How Dean Pees Is Getting The Job Done:
The Cleveland comeback was evidence that Dean Pees is playing an important role. In prior seasons when the Ravens defense struggled the bleeding never stopped. Pees made obvious adjustments that helped win the game. Talent is one thing, but when you pair it with good coaching the results are so much better. Credit has to be given to Pees.
Pees is mixing up his looks. When he has confidence in his players, you see his play-calling lean on the bold side. The Ravens secondary was a big problem for the Ravens the last few seasons. Now he no longer needs to rely on a passive zone coverage. He doesn’t need to live in constant fear of the big play. When the Ravens secondary was a problem he let teams pick apart the defense slowly. With Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb playing incredible football, the sky is the limit for the Ravens defense. Now the Ravens have more flexibility in their defensive play calling.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens have all the talent in the world and have mostly seen complete stagnation and frustration. Yes, the offense has delivered some big plays. However when you look at this team, one side of it is completely carrying the weight. The Ravens improved talent on both the offense and the defense. Thus far it is the defense that has taken steps forward. If Pees didn’t change his tendencies in accordance to the players he has at his disposal, the defense would have struggled too.
Sep 25, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end Timmy Jernigan (99) celebrates making a stop during the second half of a football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank FieldThe Baltimore Ravens won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Many people thought that Pees should be fired after the 5-11 season. It’s not like I was running the Dean Pees fan club. It looks like the Ravens were in the right by keeping him in the mix. It is becoming clearer every week that Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta have addressed the real problems with the Ravens defense. The talent is there and the Ravens are winning.
One change that has been a great move is having Pees on the sideline. Now, Pees can communicate with players. When players can tell him what’s happening it behooves his ability to do his job. That’s huge. Defensive leaders like Terrell Suggs and Eric Weddle are helping Pees see what’s happening on the field.
The Ravens defense has seen as big of an improvement as I have ever seen in one season. Now, the Ravens surely upgraded the defensive roster. However you can’t have anything but praise for Pees. This season he is proving that given the talent, he can call the right shots.