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Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees is not the problem

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Look, I'm hard on the guy more than I think a lot of fans are and when he does bad work like he did against Oakland, he gets my wrath like he should. But what I saw out of this defense today was not a problem with scheme, but a problem with players.

If you are looking for people to blame, look no further than the players themselves. We've seen it in every game this season, but players are looking around like they have no idea where they should be. Against the Bengals, Kendrick Lewis, Kyle Arrington, Rashaan Melvin and even Jimmy Smith were all torched at various moments or penalized for bad technique that allowed the Bengals to keep drives alive or score. No matter what the scheme is, if Kendrick Lewis can't play safety, then you are stuck with some plays every game where the defense will fail.

Taking a look even more specifically at Jimmy Smith, I saw the same Smith that the Ravens had a few seasons ago. A guy that bit on every move, putting him a few steps behind the receiver. The last touchdown of the game came from him getting juked out of his jock strap at the line of scrimmage by wide receiver A.J. Green, who then used the yards separating them to make an easy completion for the score.

Now that is not to say that Jimmy Smith is a bad player or that any of the players mentioned are particularly bad at their jobs, but the scheme looked good against the Bengals. It was one that sent unique blitzes at Andy Dalton and was able to stop the running game of the Bengals for only 86 yards.

Clearly the Ravens need adjustments, most notably in the secondary where the Ravens cannot get consistent play out of anyone not named Will Hill III. Could that be changing up the cornerbacks, moving Lardarius Webb to the slot more often and hoping one of your other corners can manage the outside? Could it be putting Terrence Brooks in at free safety and keeping Kendrick Lewis off the field? I'm not sure of the answer, but Pees can only try so many things in each game.

As much as I would love to just blame the defensive coordinator for this loss like I partially did for the loss in Oakland, I can't in good conscious do that today.