I love all of these people questioning Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees. I would like to sit some of them down and ask what type of defense the Ravens should run.
I'd like to go through situations with them and personnel issues. I'd like to know when they would blitz or bring pressure, or even know if they knew the difference between the two.
What I have seen from Pees in the past couple of weeks is a coach who has tried everything. And the reason the Ravens struggle is not from what is being called, but from lack of talent. If the Ravens had a strength, believe me, he would stay with it. But they are lacking, so Pees is in a no-win situation. The Ravens can't consistently get enough pressure up front, so he has to bring more pressure.
Well, that's great if you have cornerbacks who can cover, but the Ravens don't have a shutdown corner on the roster. Nope, and please, don't mention Jimmy Smith in that role again.
To bring pressure, you really need cornerbacks who can press up on receivers and be physical at the line of scrimmage. The Ravens don't have those types of cornerbacks. either. So, that's why the Ravens play so far off receivers. They at least want to make a team go eight to 12 plays down the field instead of giving up one big play for a touchdown. It's logical, and makes sense to me. That strategy almost got them to the AFC championship game last season.
But for some reason, these Ravens have just as much trouble playing zone. I've seen Pees use a three-man or a four-man rush. I've seen him bring safeties or cornerbacks off the edge to get pressure. I've seen them run a few stunts up front with defensive linemen to throw off the opponent, all part of mixing it up and trying to gain an advantage.
But the bottom line, if I may borrow Ray Lewis' favorite phrase, is you have to have players, especially playmakers. Right now, it wouldn't make a difference if Rex Ryan, Buddy Ryan, Jack Del Rio or Marvin Lewis were coaching this defense. The results would still pretty much be the same.
Usually, when things aren't going well, players start mumbling bad things about the coach or the coordinator, but you don't hear anything negative about Pees from the players. They respect and play hard for him. I just think the Ravens are a team without a shutdown cornerback, a dominant pass rusher or a safety who can cover significant ground.
All you have to do is keep watching the players who come and go, especially on the back end of the defense. It isn't all about the defensive coordinator. There are a lot of other issues that need to be addressed before pointing a finger at Pees.
"Pees is doing a great job. I think he's doing a great job with everything that he's got," Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams said. "Everything that he's doing, everything that we're doing, he's coaching us and telling us. He has a great game plan every week. So it's just up to us to finish and make that game plan even better – just to go out there and execute it to the best of our ability."