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What kind of pressure is the Baltimore Ravens defense under?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens offense on paper looks to have more quality depth as a whole. When you look at the runningback, wide receiver, and tight end positions, you can make an argument at every one of those positions that the backups could be starters.

  • At runningback, you have three main guys now in Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, and Kenneth Dixon.
  • At wide receiver, you have four main guys in Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace.
  • At tight end, you have four main guys in Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Ben Watson and Dennis Pitta.

With that kind of talent, one would expect the Ravens offense to carry the team with Joe Flacco at quarterback. However, the Ravens defense is historically is the bread and butter for this team. Yes, guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are no longer on the roster, but the standard for excellence on defense remains the same.

The Ravens defense in 2015 contributed to the team allowing over 25 points a game. That isn't going to cut it if the Ravens have playoff aspirations. And with Dean Pees as the defensive coordinator, he has more pressure to perform because the Ravens loaded up in the pass rushing department adding guys like Matt Judon, Willie Henry, Bronson Kaufusi and Kamalei Correa. All four of these rookie pass rushers will team up with Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Za'Darius Smith and Timmy Jernigan to go after the quarterback.

To be blunt, there shouldn't be an excuse (Other than injuries) as to why the Ravens pass rush can't be among the top 10 best in the NFL this year. Yes, there are still some question marks in the secondary particularly at cornerback as Jimmy Smith is the only proven starter at the position. We have yet to see if the safeties in Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb will play well together.

But once again, having said all of that, if the Ravens defense can't force turnovers and be respectable in pass defense during the 2016 season, wholesale changes may not only happen in the personnel department once again but this time, there may be (And should be) wholesale changes with the defensive coaching staff.