The Ravens run defense stiffened against the New York Giants' duo of Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson, limiting that pair of running backs to a combined 56 yards and just one touchdown on 12 carries Sunday.
But considering that the Washington Redskins' Alfred Morris and the Denver Broncos' Knowshon Moreno had gained 129 and 118 yards, respectively, in back-to-back weeks, the Ravens know their No. 24 ranking in the NFL against the run still leaves a lot to be desired.
Next up is the Cincinnati Bengals' BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who posted 91 yards and one score on 18 attempts in the Ravens' 44-13 rout in Week 1. With 1,094 yards this season, Green-Ellis has already surpassed his previous career-high total of 1,008 in 2010 when he played for the New England Patriots.
"We're going to have to wrap [him] up," Ravens inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. "We are going to have to be sure tacklers and play within the defense and do our jobs. I felt like we did a good job against the run the last couple of weeks and we're getting better."
Green-Ellis has powered the Bengals rushing attack to the No. 14 ranking in the league, and he has rushed for at least 100 yards in four of his last six games – a span in which Cincinnati has gone 5-1. Getting Green-Ellis going against the Ravens could alleviate some of the pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green and tire out the defense.
It's possible that no one among the Ravens knows Green-Ellis better than defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who held the same position with the Patriots when Green-Ellis was there.
Pees said the one thing that impressed him about Green-Ellis was his no-nonsense decision process when determining where to run with the football.
"This is a back that knows the worth of a four-yard gain, and that's kind of what I've stressed to the defense," Pees said Thursday. "This is not a guy that [says], 'Ok, I've got a chance to jump-cut it out here and maybe make a big play or get tackled for a loss. Or I can stick it up in there and gain two more extra yards and that's probably what I'll get.' That's what he's going to do. He's a valuable, valuable back that way. He's just a steady guy that doesn't fumble. A decent receiver out of the backfield, but he's a downhill, one-cut, get-you-everything-that-he-can-get-you, run-over-you, not-going-to-run-out-of-bounds, that kind of stuff. He's a tough, tough kid. Doesn't say anything. He's a businessman, goes to work. I have a ton of respect for the guy."