The Ravens defense has yet to be beaten for big plays. That feat would be considered a much less shallow success had the Ravens pass rush not gone missing-in-action.
Lawrence Guy and Albert McClellan are at the core of the issue. For all the the workman like work they provide, their lack of versatility holds the defense back.
Lawrence Guy is used as the early down rusher opposite the rush linebacker in a four man rush. If Guy is forced to face offensive tackles, he will lose every time. He should not be asked to fill a role that is beyond his skill-set.
McClellan is a SAM linebacker cut from the same cloth as Courtney Upshaw. Upshaw held the defense back. If the Ravens feel the need to constantly use a SAM linebacker on early downs, even against spread formations the Ravens will continue to not only tip off its coverage’s but will handcuff itself to playing zone coverage’s in early downs, thus allowing the easy underneath completions that seem to be its bane.
Making use of all available personnel and mixing and matching it as related to specific down and distances will help the Ravens become more unpredictable in all situations a defense can find itself in.
The defenders need to be used in the situations that allow their specific skill-set to thrive.