ESPN recently published an article detailing the best and worst of the past decade in the NFL. To the surprise of no one, the New England Patriots were named the best team of the decade, as well as the best offense, with Bill Belichick as the best head coach. The Cleveland Browns were named the worst team of the decade with Hue Jackson as the worst coach.
The Baltimore Ravens earned the title of best defense of the decade, according to ESPN. The Ravens finished the decade first in defensive efficiency (59.4), third in points per game (19.7), and second in yards per game (322.6).
Ravens named best defense of the decade— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) June 15, 2020
Defensive efficiency: 59.4 (1st)
Points per game: 19.7 (3rd)
Yards per game: 322.6 (2nd)https://t.co/tIehjRwaLH
“Baltimore barricaded the end zone for offenses over the past 10 seasons, seven times finishing in the top 10 in fewest points allowed, including four years among the top three. At the start of the decade, the Ravens’ defense dominated with two future Hall of Famers in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs,” ESPN’s Jamison Hensley said. “By the close of it, Baltimore was turning turnovers into touchdowns with Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosley and Marlon Humphrey. The Ravens finished this decade with the highest-scoring offense behind quarterback Lamar Jackson, but their identity over the past 10 years remained on the defensive side of the ball.”
Baltimore joined the NFL in 1996 and have since been a consistent top defense in the NFL. Even after the losses of Lewis, Reed, Suggs, Mosley, and Haloti Ngata, the Ravens upheld their defensive reputation. Baltimore looks to start the new decade with another stellar defensive unit with several new faces such as defensive ends Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, and rookie inside linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison. Even though the Ravens have one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL now, it will not come at the cost of the defense, that’s for certain.