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Ravens five-safety rotation must stay sharp against Vincent Jackson, Evans

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The creative Dean Pees has changed the Ravens back end to a five-man system.

Kevin C. Cox

Welcome to a new era, one that implements a collective effort from not two, but all five safeties on the Ravens depth chart. This defensive strategy, drawn up by Baltimore's creative defensive coordinator Dean Pees, provides his unit a wide range of flexibility, options, in stopping an offense's arsenal.

"The truth of it is we felt like, ‘Hey, they all deserve a chance to play, rather than two guys, or three guys playing on every snap,’" Pees said. "We played them all, and we found little spots and little roles for them, and I thought they all contributed in their own way."

Veteran Jeromy Miles and rookie Terrence Brooks have both received reps on the back end. Brooks is lightning quick and his coverage skills will improve with time. Miles, who comes off the bench, has forced a fumble this season, something starters Matt Elam and Darian Stewart have also achieved. Hard-hitting third string safety Brynden Trawick's five tackles matches Brooks' total, although Brooks has played more snaps.

The Ravens occasionally rotated their safeties around last week, based on the Colts' offensive personnel. Ravens writer Garrett Downing tallied their snaps: Stewart (80), Elam (55), Brooks (47), Miles (15) and Trawick (12).

We might expect Brooks' to see more snaps today, as Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon will take shots deep to his tall tandem, Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. The Ravens will count on Brooks' speed and cover skills, and I figure that Pees will have Miles and Trawick, their tallest safeties (both 6'2") see increased action in the red zone to prevent scoring off fade routes.

Defensive coordinator Pees trusts his safeties to get the job done, after the loss to Indy he said, "We really felt like there are a lot of guys that have been playing well."

"I don’t think there’s a lot of separation in all the safeties. I think they’re all fairly equal. They all have certain talents."

Look for the equally talented safeties to stay sharp against Louis Murphy, Evans and Jackson. The Bucs will test their luck coming out of the gates.