My mother once told me that it’s best to overdress for the occasion. "And if it gets too hot you can take off a layer," she’d say in her lovely tone. With that, this manifesto is dedicated to Dean Pees, Ravens’ defensive coordinator, because the Ravens could never ... possess enough multipurpose linebackers. (According to my mom this is the best problem to have.)
After watching X-Men: Days of Future Past twice this week—don’t judge me—I realized that the Ravens’ arsenal carries 14 Sentinels. Developed by Bolivar Trask, Sentinels were machines capable of transforming to counter and combat all prototypes of mutants, which in this case, would be against all offensive schemes and disguises.
If safeguarding potential was their defense's Achilles’ heel in 2013, the Ravens’ linebacking corps will unleash their stored rage after a year of self-restraint.
Look Truth dead in the eye. She'll reveal to you that the Ravens defense, who by the way was undergoing a reconstruction phase, allowed 163 rushing yards on 45 attempts, gave up 130 yards on 18 catches with a couple of touchdown receptions (one apiece) to Matt Forte and Giovani Bernard last year.
Read into the averages: Forte and Bernard averaged a minute total of 3.62 yards per rush attempt. Indeed, Baltimore’s 4th-ranked defense gave up 3.8 yards per carry, which means that somewhere down the line a couple of running backs unexpectedly crinkled their consistency. (Toby Gerhart’s 89 yards on 15 carries, or maybe, Fred Jackson’s 87-16-1?)
What makes this year’s batch better than last season’s? Well, are we not under the impression that the Ravens’ front-seven grew closer as a unit? Barring any setbacks Daryl Smith’s prowess to apply pressure and spy mobile quarterbacks, and track down utility backs will only progress. Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs are bullish enough to maul over an offensive lineman on a blitz.
Rookie C.J. Mosley’s predestined to lead the charge, and this bunch will ensure that the running backs who torched them in 2013 will not put up similar numbers again. Need a breather? The Ravens have a pair of second-round draft picks in Arthur Brown (2013) and Courtney Upshaw (‘12), a force in Pernell McPhee and seven other all-purpose Sentinels that will compete to fight alongside Magne—Dean Pees.
The gamut of Baltimore's coveted standups are mouthwatering, eye candy, so go ahead. It's OK to stare (at the Ravens linebacker list).