The Ravens defense did a lot of things right in the 2019 season.
They were Top-5 in yards allowed, first downs, passing touchdowns, and turnover percentage — in a league that is only becoming more and more offensive focused. They were, however, on the field less than every other defense in the NFL due to their offense’s success in taking the most time per drive in the NFL in 2019.
Overall, Baltimore’s defense was good last year, but the biggest hole on that side of the ball was clearly the front-seven and most importantly, it was the pass rush.
Last season, the Ravens blitzed almost 55% of the time, which is staggeringly higher than the league average of 29.1%. However the issue lies not just with the quantity of blitzing, but the quality as well. Despite the sheer amount of times the Ravens rushed the passer, they only hurried the opposing quarterback 44 times last year, one of the three-worst marks in the league, and only produced 37 sacks, which is below the league average.
That lack of production despite trying can be attributed to a lack of talent on the defensive line, in combination with NFL teams beginning to put a higher priority on getting the ball out the quarterbacks hands faster with quick, short throws.
A lack of pressure on the quarterback is not the end of the world, however you shouldn’t be devoting as much time and man power to blitzing as the Ravens were, only to attain mediocre results. The 49ers only blitzed about 1⁄3 of the amount of time as the Ravens, but produced double the hurries and 11 more sacks. This disparity is clearly a result of the talent present in their front seven, but it also shines a light on the inefficiency the 2019 Baltimore Ravens pass rush.
New additions to the front seven such as Patrick Queen and Calais Campbell may prove to patch this hole up, but if the Ravens continue to blitz this often only to attain similar results, changes will need to be made if they hope to win it all. If things don’t improve they could always trade for some top-end line talent, or they should just simply blitz less.
They have a lot of talent at cornerback and safety, which can always be leveraged towards a team that needs it.