Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith, right center, pressures Cam Newton, left center, during the first half of the Baltimore Ravens' preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Thursday.
Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith, right center, pressures Cam Newton, left center, during the first half of the Baltimore Ravens' preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Thursday. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

OWINGS MILLS - Whether it was from Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Haloti Ngata or someone else, the Ravens had Panthers quarterback Cam Newton under constant pressure during last week's game against Carolina.
In just five series, Baltimore's first-team defense had two sacks and, according to Pro Football Focus, six additional quarterback hurries, meaning that Newton was either pressured or sacked on nearly half of his 17 dropbacks against the Ravens' first-team defense.
The expectation on a national level has been that Baltimore could have a potentially dominant pass rush since the Ravens signed Dumervil in March.
But while Suggs and Dumervil are the two headliners of Baltimore's pass rush, the preseason has shown what Ravens players and coaches have emphasized the past several months.
Yes, Suggs and Dumervil are two of the NFL's best pass rushers. And yes, they might be the most talented pass rushing tandem. But what makes Baltimore's pass rush even more dangerous is that it has several other players such as Ngata, Chris Canty and Arthur Jones who are capable of generating consistent pressure as well.
"I'm encouraged by the pass rush," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "You take the preseason games and the practices all into account. We're going to have a really good pass rush. There's no question that we're going to be able to rush the passer."
The potential of the pass rush has been obvious to anyone that saw Baltimore's defense during training camp. But to defensive coordinator Dean Pees, the preseason has further validated that the Ravens have a potentially dynamic pass rush.
The defensive play-calling has been vanilla for the most part for Baltimore during the preseason, as it is for most NFL teams this time of year, but the Ravens' first-team defense still has been able to apply consistent pressure throughout much of the three games.
"I think we've got a number of different guys that can play in different spots and contribute in the pass rush - whether they are outside rushers or inside rushers," Pees said. "There have been times [in the past] that we've had to use outside rushers inside just to get them on the field. I don't think that's the case right now. I think we've got some pretty good inside rushers that are bigger guys."
Ngata is one. Jones is another.
Ngata has dealt with injuries each of the last two seasons, but he's had five sacks both years.
Jones had 4.5 sacks during the final six games last season and also had a sack in the Super Bowl.
The Ravens also are enthusiastic about defensive end Chris Canty, whom they signed in March.
Canty had four sacks with the New York Giants in 2011 and three sacks in nine games with the Giants last year. He had a sack in Baltimore's first preseason game and had a quarterback hit against the Panthers.
But there are other players, as well.
Inside linebacker Daryl Smith had a sack against the Panthers. So did rookie defensive lineman Brandon Williams while working with the first-team defense. And players and coaches have repeatedly said during the past few months that they believe last year's second-round pick, Courtney Upshaw, will contribute to the pass rush, as well.
And there's obviously Suggs and Dumervil.
Neither has a sack this preseason, but Dumervil had two quarterback hits against the Atlanta Falcons, and Suggs, according to Pro Football Focus, had two quarterback hurries versus Carolina.
"We've got a lot of talent out there," Upshaw said. "And as a whole, this defense is capable of picking up a lot of sacks and getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback."

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement