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Matt Elam wasn't to blame for the Ravens issues in the secondary after all

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam took a lot of heat in his first-two years in the league with his inconsistencies in coverage or tackling in general and that comes with the territory if you are a selected in the first round like he was. A lot of people pointed to him being the weak link in the secondary. After what we saw from the Ravens pass defense during the 2015 season, a lot of people owe Elam an apology in terms of him being a scapegoat.

During the 2015 offseason, Elam was making a lot of strides according to reports. He was becoming more of a leader by staying on top of his film study and understanding his role on defense as a whole. But his season was cut short due to tearing his biceps during training camp and was put on injured reserve almost immediately.

But before Elam got hurt, he was very excited about what he could bring to the table.

"I'm very excited about how things are going," Elam noted via Baltimore Sun in late July of 2015. "I'm reacting quickly and breaking on the ball. I feel really good about this year."

All Elam can do is continue to rehab and get ready for the 2016 season. But apart from that it is very clear that the issues in the secondary are far deeper than any issues Elam had in the past. Yes, the Ravens finished the season 10th in pass defense allowing 233 yards a game. But that is as fools gold if I ever saw one.

Baltimore's defense started playing better once they were basically eliminated from playoff contention. When the Ravens playoff hopes were still very much alive for the first-seven games of the year, the Ravens secondary crumbled allowing Browns quarterback Josh McCown to throw for over 450 yards on them. They also allowed 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to throw for over 340 yards as well. Both of those instances occurred during the first-seven games of the season.

I think the main reason why the Ravens pass defense performed better in the second half of the season had a lot more to do with the fact that the pressure was off towards the end of the year because they weren't playing for anything significant. They were playing loose.

If the Ravens go into the 2016 season with very little changes in terms of player personnel in the secondary, they are asking for trouble.


Elam still has to prove himself there is no doubt about that. But his situation could be a lesson that one person can't be a scapegoat in the grand scheme of things whether that may be a player or a coach.