The list of opposing pass rushers Ronnie Stanley has faced is impressive, including the Houston Texans’ Jadeveon Clowney, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Cameron Heyward and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Calais Campbell.
Just as he faced Heyward and Steelers rookie T.J. Watt twice thus far, the Ravens starting left tackle will get a rematch with Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap in Sunday’s regular-season finale at M&T Bank Stadium. Stanley helped limit Dunlap to zero sacks and only one assisted tackle in the Ravens’ 20-0 shutout in Cincinnati on Sept. 10, but Stanley had difficulty remembering what he did so effectively.
“That was a long time ago,” Stanley said Thursday with a laugh. “I know me as well as [right tackle] Austin [Howard], we did a great job with our technique, and [quarterback] Joe [Flacco] did a great job of getting rid of the ball. I think we’ve definitely improved from that time.”
Dunlap, 6 feet 6, 280 pounds, has quietly enjoyed a solid year for the Bengals. He ranks third on the team in sacks with 6½ and is the only member of the defense to have two sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.
In eight years, Dunlap has 62½ sacks to move into second place on the franchise’s career list. His eight sacks against the Ravens are the second-highest total he has collected against a single opponent, trailing only his 10 against the Cleveland Browns.
“Very good player, long, playing at a high level,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said of Dunlap. “Very good player. They have an awful lot of good players on their defensive football team.”
One of Dunlap’s more underrated qualities is his ability to knock down passes. He has batted seven throws this season, the fourth-highest total among defensive linemen in the NFL.
Stanley was aware of that part of Dunlap’s game.
“I don’t think it’s an overlooked aspect at all,” Stanley said. “I think everyone on our team is aware of how many balls he’s swatted down this year. … He’s well known for doing that.”
Sunday will mark Stanley’s third meeting with Dunlap, who had one sack each in two games in 2016. Stanley will lean on that familiarity to help him prepare for Sunday.
“It’s a huge benefit going against this team twice a year,” he said. “We definitely know each other pretty well.”