Despite the issues in the Baltimore Ravens' secondary, the team's defense appears to be shaping up to become one of the league's top units in 2010. If what we've seen in the first three preseason games holds true for the regular season, the Ravens defense will once again be feared by opponents, on the field and in fantasy leagues as well.
The defense has only allowed a single touchdown so far in exhibition season, and that was by the reserves late in the game last weekend against the New York Giants. The first team defense has not allowed an opponent into the end zone despite the obvious concerns and injuries in their secondary. Without their starting cornerbacks and free safety, Baltimore has lived by their "next man up" mantra and helped out the defensive backs by adding a disruptive pass rush to force the QB's to get rid of the ball quickly.
I realize that the preseason may not mirror what we end up seeing in the regular season, but for the starters to have not surrendered a TD so far is impressive and a great sign as well as a message to our early opponents once things start counting for real.
(Read more, including some supporting stats after the 'Jump')
The Baltimore Ravens defense has lived with the bend-but-don't-break mentality for years and the 2010 preseason is no different. Despite giving up well over 200+ yards passing a game, they have held opposition QB's to around a 50% completion rate, 25% third down efficiency and only one of six in fourth down conversions. Opponents have thrown the ball over twice as much as they've ran it, for obvious reasons. They just can't run the ball against this defense. Over the years, the names have changed up front, but the fact remains, which is regardless of whom the Ravens plug into their front seven, you will not be successful running the ball against this team. Regardless of his age and all the negative things you hear about how old and slow he is, the common denominator through all those years is inside linebacker Ray Lewis. As the heart and soul of the Ravens defense, he may have lost a step or two, but no one prepares himself and his teammates each week and his presence on the field makes everyone around him better.
2010 should be no different, with guys like Ray, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson as well as the rest of the guys, including rookie defensive tackle Terrence "Mount" Cody. Teams will take to the air and abandon the run in order to try to move the ball and that will give our defense the chance to pin their ears back and pressure the QB into mistakes. That will lead to turnovers and give the ball right back to our ever improving and now dangerous offense. Things are looking exciting for the Ravens in 2010 and the defense will once again be the catalyst for things to come.
CBSSports.com is an SB Nation partner and paying sponsor of the SB Nation football communities.This post is one of a series of sponsor endorsed posts relating to the CBSSports.com Fantasy Football Commissioner League.