The Ravens lost two defensive starters in outside linebacker Jarret Johnson and defensive end Cory Redding and will be without outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, a five-time Pro Bowler and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, for a good portion of the upcoming season.
That would seem to put the burden on standouts like 13-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker Ray Lewis, eight-time Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed and three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to maintain the defense’s level of success over the years.
But Ngata said he’s not focusing on any pressure to replace Suggs, Johnson and Redding.
“I try not to just because if I try to do more than my own job, I might end up messing up the whole defense,” he said after Monday’s practice at the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills. “And so, I just try to do my job, and hopefully the other guys can do theirs. But sometimes I do find myself trying to do more than I’m supposed to. But I’ve just got to have more faith in our guys that they’re going to get their job done, too.”
Last season, Ngata earned his third consecutive invitation to the Pro Bowl despite a dropoff in production in the latter half of the year. After compiling five sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in the first 11 games, he recorded just one forced fumble and zero sacks and fumble recoveries in the final seven regular-season and playoff contests.
Ngata declined to use a thigh injury that bothered him during the season and forced him to skip the Pro Bowl as an excuse.
“Just toward the end, I felt like I just kind of wasn’t as strong, like I said earlier,” he said. “I feel like I can do more and just wasn’t able to just being a little weaker. I still want to improve on being a better run stopper and getting to the passer more often. Towards the end of the season, I wasn’t getting as many sacks or anything, but hopefully I can just do that continually throughout the season.”