May 27, 2024

Top 5 Queries for Ravens’ Defensive Strategy This Offseason

As Defensive Coordinator Zach Orr takes the reins, here are five pressing concerns confronting Baltimore’s defense in the offseason:

Zach Orr takes over Baltimore's defense on a staff that has to replace  several assistants - The San Diego Union-Tribune

  1. How will Zach Orr imprint his style on the defense as coordinator? Orr boasts a formidable track record in Baltimore, transitioning swiftly from Pro Bowl linebacker to esteemed coach. He epitomizes the team’s defensive ethos, embodying the Ravens’ identity with his deep-rooted connection to the franchise. Elevated to defensive coordinator at the age of 31, Orr’s ascent in coaching has been meteoric, with Ravens players accustomed to his leadership. While the specifics of defensive schemes remain to be seen, Orr pledges continuity in the team’s physicality, promising an approach characterized by aggression and tenacity.
  2. What lies ahead for Justin Madubuike and Patrick Queen? Both Madubuike and Queen have garnered Pro Bowl honors and are impending free agents. Madubuike’s prowess in generating interior pressure and his versatility make him a valuable asset, while Queen’s consistency and durability underscore his importance to the defense. Retaining either player via the franchise tag or a long-term deal may be imperative for the Ravens, as their departure would necessitate filling significant voids, likely placing added responsibility on emerging talents like Trenton Simpson and Travis Jones.
  3. Can the pass rush sustain its effectiveness? Baltimore led the league in sacks during the previous season, with contributions from various sources. The pending free agency of veteran edge rushers like Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy poses a challenge, although promising talents such as Odafe Oweh offer optimism for the future. Maintaining a formidable pass rush may prove challenging, particularly with uncertainties surrounding the futures of key contributors.
  4. Will cornerback depth remain a strength? While Brandon Stephens emerged as a reliable cornerback in 2023, the status of pending free agents like Ronald Darby, Arthur Maulet, and Rock Ya-Sin raises concerns about maintaining depth at the position. The return of Marlon Humphrey from injury bolsters the unit, but the potential departure of veteran corners could necessitate increased roles for younger players like Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion “Pepe” Williams.
  5. Can the Ravens unearth defensive gems in the draft? With a track record of drafting defensive stalwarts like Kyle Hamilton, Queen, and Madubuike, General Manager Eric DeCosta faces the challenge of identifying impactful prospects in the upcoming draft. The potential departure of Geno Stone adds urgency to bolstering the secondary through the draft. While finding immediate starters may be challenging with a late first-round pick, the draft remains a crucial avenue for the Ravens to fortify their defense for the future.

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