Ravens bracing for Oakland Raiders’ dangerous pass rush

After absorbing a season-high four sacks in Sunday’s 26-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco could face more punishment this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Oakland is tied for 14th in the NFL in sacks with 10 and sacked Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian four times and hit him two more times in a 16-10 loss at Denver. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley acknowledged the danger that the Raiders’ pass rush poses.

“I would say that they have elite pass rushers on the edge in Khalil Mack and [outside linebacker Bruce] Irvin,” he said before Wednesday’s practice. “They’ve been dominant on the edge for years now, and that’s something we just need to work on and watch film and be prepared to face those guys.”

Pittsburgh sacked Flacco four times and added two more hits, which contributed to his throwing more interceptions (two) than touchdown passes (one). But Flacco said the onus is on him to perform up to his standards even if the pocket around him is collapsing.

“As a quarterback, you’re going to deal with guys clawing at you here and there and coming after you,” he said. “It’s your job to stand in the pocket or get out of it and make a play. That’s what this league comes down to, the ability to do that when times are tough.

“Anybody can sit back there and do it when it’s easy, but there’s going to be a handful of situations every game where they’re getting paid to and when you really make your money and make your points and prove you’re a good offense is when you’re doing it in those tough situations.”

Mack, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, had 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries last season, and has four sacks this season. The Raiders also have defensive end Mario Edwards, who has a career-high three sacks.

“I think they’ve got a number of guys that can get to the quarterback,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “They get good push from their nose guard and from their 3-technique. Both of those guys get good push. That’s a very good front five, it’s a very good front seven.”

Oakland has four other players with at least a half-sack, and coach Jack Del Rio said spreading the wealth outside of Mack has made the defense more versatile.

“It’s been good to get Mario back playing well this year,” said Del Rio, a former Ravens linebackers coach from 1999 to 2001. “Obviously, Khalil has been impactful, but having some additional players make their presence felt has been good for us.”



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