The Baltimore Ravens did not start the 2013 NFL season as planned, with a majority of the problems being on the defensive end. Since the team’s debut in 1996, the Ravens have been known for a dynamic defense with great pass coverage and an unbeatable front seven. But the season opener in Denver proved that the Ravens’ defense is going to have to step up in a big way if the team wants any chance of defending their Super Bowl title.
The main source of the defensive problems was in the secondary. While cornerback Lardarius Webb proved that he was ready to be back in the starting position after an ACL tear last season, he did not have much help downfield from his teammates.
Corey Graham was at the forefront of the Ravens’ defensive difficulties. The veteran cornerback put on a performance to remember in January when the Ravens and the Broncos last met, but his execution in Week 1 was below average.
Graham was responsible for three touchdowns and 7 of the 9 passes thrown to his receiver were caught for completions, three of which resulted in touchdowns.
Safety Michael Huff, who the Ravens acquired after he was cut from the Oakland Raiders in March, also did not put up any numbers in the season opener. The Broncos were 5 for 5 when throwing to Huff’s receiver. Three of those completions resulted in touchdowns. Huff was eventually benched and replaced by rookie Matt Elam.
In addition, cornerback Jimmy Smith misread his coverage a 28-yard pass, ultimately resulting in a Broncos touchdown. The problems in the secondary pushed linebacker Josh Bynes to help out, but the Broncos took advantage of the situation and went 4 for 4 on Bynes’ coverage.
So how can the Ravens’ defense dig themselves out of this hole?
The defensive unit consists of many new players to both the team and the league. The only way the Ravens will be able to succeed this season is by building up the chemistry on defense. Once the unit has a strong chemistry, the communication will come much easier and the defense will be able to work better together.