|Ravens' defense not what it used to be|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 03 October 2007 11:23|
No lesser expert than middle linebacker Ray Lewis said so on Wednesday.
The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year said the defense needs to regain its old swagger and dominance. In a 27-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore gave up four big plays, including cornerback Chris McAlister being burned by Braylon Edwards on a 78-yard touchdown pass, and didn't get a sack.
``Sooner or later, you can't trick everybody,'' Lewis said. ``Bottom line, sooner or later, you have to line up and beat the man in front of you. If you're doing that, you've got nothing to hold your head down about.''
Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan's unit is ranked 10th in the league - it was ranked first in 2006. The Ravens are allowing 301.8 yards per contest with just six sacks and two interceptions. The defense gave up 27 points to the Bengals, 26 to the Cardinals and 27 to the Browns for a 22.5 season average, 18th in the NFL.
But Ravens coach Brian Billick cautioned against a rush to judgment, noting that cornerback Samari Rolle missed the past two games with an undisclosed illness and defensive end Trevor Pryce is sidelined with a broken wrist.
Pro Bowl linebackers Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs, who combined for 19 sacks a year ago, have none this year.
Pryce's absence may be key. He led the Ravens last season with 13 sacks. Baltimore was second in the league with 60 sacks.
``Right now, we're not generating enough pass rush with just a four-man rush. ... Getting Trevor back will be big for us,'' Billick said.
Pryce said he's 90 percent certain he'll return for a Nov. 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pryce, who's recovering from surgery, said he will have the pins removed from his wrist in a few weeks.
``I'm not a catch-all, trust me,'' Pryce said. ``I don't know if anyone knows this, but we weren't going to have 60 sacks again. That's how the NFL works. That's like saying to somebody you're going to have the same day every day of your life.''