Part three of our five part series with Football Outsiders includes a question about the Ravens new star safety, Tony Jefferson. Reminder: Football Outsiders recently released their Football Outsiders Almanac 2017. The Almanac is loaded with incredible sports info and data, get yours today.
Every Raven fan is thrilled with the addition of Tony Jefferson, but Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders quells the excitement with his response.
What change in the defense can Ravens fans expect with the addition of safety Tony Jefferson?
The odd thing is that Jefferson’s strengths really play into what Baltimore was already good at. Jefferson led all defensive backs with 13 run defeats last year. (A defeat is a stop at or behind the line of scrimmage, a forced turnover, or a tackle or tipped pass that leads to a third-down stop.) He’s probably an upgrade on Lardarius Webb in coverage at this point, but not a complete game-changer.
Before you rage, understand this is true. Tony is a run-stop DB. The Ravens already had an incredible run-stop DB group.
Jefferson is a great run-stop player, but he also, as mentioned by Rivers, is a better coverage safety than Webb.
How I see Tony affecting the Ravens abilities:
Jefferson’s skillset is similar to Eric Weddle. They both can cover well, but they love getting involved with hitting near the line-of-scrimmage. Now, with two safeties capable of coverage and run-stop play, Dean Pees can coordinate his safeties as disguises. Either one can fly in, they both can, or neither as they disguise blitz attacks. This will throw teams off-kilter, and force teams to check out of plays they’re worried will be stopped. Though football is highly physical, the game is also a chess match. Ravens fans know this from the Peyton Manning — Ray Lewis matchups from years past.