Anthony Levine Sr. has carved out a six year career with the Baltimore Ravens as a special teams ace and versatile defensive backup. After leading the kick coverage units and playing all over the defensive secondary for several seasons, he has become a regular member of the Ravens opportunistic dime package this year. Levine is currently Baltimore’s highest graded safety at 79.2, per Pro Football Focus.
Before Week 12, Levine had played 151 defensive snaps or 20.5-percent of the Ravens total, a significant increase from his 10.4-percent defensive participation rate in 2016. He recorded a sack against both the Raiders and Dolphins earlier this season. Then on Monday night against the Texans, Levine secured a crucial late fourth quarter interception that allowed the Ravens to preserve a seven point victory.
According to Ken McKusick’s Ravens Filmstudy, coordinator Dean Pees had utilized dime personnel on 22-percent of all plays through the Packers game. These plays with six defensive backs on the field resulted in 11 takeaways along with 15 sacks. In other words, better than 60-percent of all turnovers created and half of all sacks have come with the Ravens in their dime defense.
Defense has carried the Ravens all season. And the dime package has produced a majority of the splash plays that have allowed the team to remain in postseason contention despite a repulsive passing offense. Levine’s contributions both in coverage and when rushing the quarterback in these situations should not be overlooked.
Re-signing Anthony to a 3-year, $4.2 million contract in March appears to be one of the front office’s smartest recent free agency decisions. Levine is providing better return on investment than many veterans on the Ravens payroll. Identifying low cost contributors and putting them in position to impact games will continue to be vital for the Ravens as they struggle to manage the salary cap.