Defensive Notes Week 17 Steelers at Ravens - Ken McKusick
Domata Peko played 20 snaps and was in for much of the success the Steelers had with their jumbo package. However, Peko himself was stout and had an outstanding instinct play that requires mention.
Michael Pierce continues to amaze with power and athleticism.
Matthew Judon had a strip sack for a loss of 11, but he lost his chance for a double-digit sack year when Hodges intentionally grounded the football (Q4, 11:29). He finished with 9.5 sacks and was 4th in the NFL with 33 QHs.
Chuck Clark had a subtle gesture which is a clear indication this is now his defense.
Making his NFL debut, 2019 fourth-round pick Powers was exceptional when he entered the game in the second quarter. Powers didn’t allow a pressure and was solid in run-blocking making way to a 78.8 run-block grade.
1. Baltimore Ravens
I mean, c’mon. No other team could top this list. The Ravens have looked like a machine during the second half of the season. Lamar Jackson is the runaway MVP, Baltimore has the best-designed offense in the league, and the defense has emerged as a dangerous unit. The Ravens have the most efficient passing game in the NFL, the best running game in the league, and a cavalcade of stars on both sides of the ball. This team is the favorite to win it all.
Browns granted permission to interview Ravens OC Greg Roman; request one with Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski; plan to interview Mike McCarthy - Mary Kay Cabot
The Browns have called upon another former John Carroll football player and grad in Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman to possibly replace fired head coach Freddie Kitchens.
They’ve asked the Ravens for permission to interview Roman for their vacancy, making him the second former Blue Streak this morning to receive such a request. John Harbaugh told reporters on Monday that the request has been granted.
Because the 14-2 Ravens have bye this week, Roman is permitted to interview during the week, but it must take place in Baltimore.
[Peters] is now the fourth Raven to ink an extension since the season started, joining wide receiver Willie Snead IV, fullback/defensive lineman Patrick Ricard and linebacker L.J. Fort.
General Manager Eric DeCosta has said all along that he wants to prioritize getting players under contract before they hit the open market, and he’s followed through.
So who’s next?
Harbaugh called Judon one of the defense’s “anchors” this season, just as important to the unit’s success as anyone else.
“He’s proven who he is as a football player,” Harbaugh said. “He’s established himself as one of the top outside linebacker, pass-rusher, edge-setters in the National Football League right now, which was his goal to do. He’s done it, and I’m proud of him.”
“We have to finish the season,” Judon said. “I love this organization, it’s the only organization I’ve played for. I’m comfortable here; I have family here; I already know the house I’m going to get if I sign [laughter]. But that’s up to upstairs.”