Patrick Queen took some time to get going at LSU. As a junior, the inside linebacker didn’t regain his starting job until the Tigers' fourth game last year. He ended the season as the defensive Most Valuable Player in the team’s national championship triumph.
This year, there’s been no easing him in. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Queen couldn’t participate in minicamp or preseason games. The Ravens started their first-round draft pick in Week 1 anyway, only a month after he turned 21 years old.
Again, Queen’s needed some time to get going. In Sunday’s win over the Washington Football Team, he joined C.J. Mosley as the only Ravens rookies since 1999 to post three tackles for loss in a game. But there were also more struggles in coverage, a surprising shortcoming for a linebacker whose pass defense was well regarded as a college prospect.
According to Pro Football-Reference, Queen had allowed 12 completions on 16 targets for 113 yards in coverage entering Sunday’s game. Coach John Harbaugh said during a Monday video conference call that Queen is “doing well” in coverage but noted room for improvement.
“Zone coverage, I think, is probably the toughest thing for the inside 'backers as young guys because it’s not just so much as just dropping back there and seeing where they throw the ball,” he said. "There’s a lot of matches that go on, a lot of pattern reads. There’s different things you have to understand on the run. ...
“That’s probably the one area where he can continue to improve. And that’s just going to happen with time because he’s young and it’s really more of an experience issue with the zone drops.”
Overall, Queen leads the Ravens in total tackles (33), solo tackles (24) and tackles for loss (four). He had a team-high 12 stops Sunday, including a leaping goal-line stop on running back Peyton Barber.
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“He played really well,” Harbaugh said. “The run game, I tell you ... he made a lot of good plays. He was sorting the schemes. He read the schemes well. He made a bunch of tackles for us at the point of attack and also some rally tackles, too.”