Ravens run defense not living up to preseason hype

The Steelers averaged 61 rushing yards per game entering Week 7. They then ran for 141 against the Ravens, with Le'Veon Bell leading the way. - Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Ravens are allowing an average of 104.3 yards per game on the ground.

Chris Canty and Marcus Spears were brought in this offseason to help shore up a run defense that was gashed at times a season ago.

Daryl Smith, brought in to replace Ray Lewis, is also tasked with defending the run as an inside linebacker. Through the preseason and the first few regular season games, the run defense was exceptional. It held the Broncos to just 65 rushing yards, with Knowshon Moreno not looking like the kind of running back he's been since.

But over the last few weeks, the run defense hasn't done a good job keeping teams from rushing the ball. Beginning with the Buffalo game, Bills runners totaled 203 yards on the ground. The Dolphins, a horrible rushing team, were limited to just 22 yards before the Packers and Steelers ran for 140 and 141, respectively, in back-to-back weeks.

For the season, the Ravens rank 16th against the run at 104.3 yards surrendered per game. In the past four weeks, that average has been 126.5. It's an area the Ravens will need to focus on during the bye week.

"As a coaching staff, you get a chance to really sit down and evaluate players," defensive coordinator Dean Pees told reporters Tuesday. "[It's] the same thing we had last year. I think we played Houston right before the bye week, which was a tragedy, and we actually came back, and we changed a lot of things. I ended up going to the press box. We talk about all the things that you can do adjustment-wise. Where are we having problems? How can we fix them? Is it a personnel thing? Do we need to play somebody different here? It could be that. Maybe this isn't a good scheme for us. Maybe we can't do this movement. Maybe we're not capable of doing this coverage. This is a week [that] is kind of nice because you're not game-planning for somebody else, [and] you can kind of sit back and take it all in and re-evaluate where you are."


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