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Ravens News 11/23: Front-5 Flex and more

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Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Ravens rookie safety Kyle Hamilton has been major factor in defensive turnaround - Jeff Zrebiec

For all the deserved credit that inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen have gotten for the defense’s recent improvement, Hamilton’s emergence has been a major factor as well. Gone is the unsure-of-himself rookie who was prone to blown coverages and missed tackles. Over the past few weeks, Hamilton has played with speed and physicality. He’s performed exceptionally well in man-to-man coverage all season. That has continued. But now, he’s tackling better, he’s making plays close to the line of scrimmage and he’s making his presence felt as a blitzer.

Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has clearly found a role that brings out the best in the former Notre Dame standout. That’s having Hamilton do a little of everything and be a chess piece of sorts. Hamilton has also helped fill the nickel spot, which has been a trouble area for the Ravens since the start of the season.

It would be easy to credit the acquisition of Smith for Queen’s recent strong play, but the third-year pro started to turn it on even before Smith’s arrival. Over his past four games, Queen has 32 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and four tackles for loss. Like Hamilton, he’s tackling much better and getting to the football quickly, but also in control. He has been much more competitive in coverage, too.

Ravens Q&A: ILB Patrick Queen on his 2021 struggles, 2022 breakthrough and pitch to Odell Beckham Jr. - Jonas Shaffer

In training camp, defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said that, through no fault of your own, you didn’t know full-field passing concepts coming into the NFL as well as you do right now. In the Southeastern Conference, there were a lot of half-field passing concepts. How much of a factor do you think that was for you?

In college, you know the [pass] rush’s getting there, so he ain’t got that much time to throw. But as far as the NFL, the whole line’s good. They’ve got time to go through their progressions. And I didn’t play Mike in college, so it wasn’t like I had to go through progressions. I played Mike on third down, and it was just, like, either blitz or run the seam.

Do you feel similar vibes with you and Roquan Smith in terms of being one of the best pairings at your position?

That’s the point that we’re trying to get across to each other: “We’re going to get there.” It might take a little time just to get the chemistry down, see how each other’s playing, just knowing what we can do with each other and stuff. I feel like once we get that chemistry down, once we get down pat how each other plays, I feel like it’s going to be that point where nobody’s going to do nothing. We just played the [New Orleans] Saints on Monday night [in Week 9], and it was a great offense that we played, and I wouldn’t say shut down, but we pretty much had the business. ... I feel like, as time progresses, just continue to have faith in each other and keep working with each other, and the sky’s the limit.

Defensive Notes vs Panthers Week 11 2022 - Ken McKusick


The play of the DL and OLB group has risen sharply over the last several games. To summarize in glass-is-half-full terms:

Justin Houston has returned and registered 7 sacks in just 73 pass plays resulting in a pass or sack (9.6%). To put that number in context, the 2006 Ravens, who had a franchise-record 60 sacks, had a TEAM sack percentage of 10.6%.

Odafe Oweh has returned primarily to Rush LB (opposite the naked tackle) and improved his pressure rate.

Jason Pierre-Paul has set the edge effectively, provided some pressure, and been opportunistic in terms of both sacks and the interception Sunday.

Tyus Bowser has displayed his athleticism and returned to play the Sam LB role including contributions vs the run, in coverage, and as a pass rusher.

David Ojabo has been added to the 53-man roster and awaits his first activation.

The DL is short a true NT, but are otherwise healthy and all playing well in rotational roles

Madubuike and Campbell have each provided interior pressure that is near the top of all IDL in the league.

Broderick Washington has provided value both as a run defender and pass rusher.

Brent Urban has provided good relief for Campbell and quality run assignment play in addition to the tipped INT vs the Bucs.

Travis Jones is the closest to a NT and has filled in well for Pierce, providing some penetration. He drew the chop block vs. the Panthers which stalled one of their drives.

2022 NFL Season: Grading all 32 first-round picks after Week 11 - Sam Monson


Overall Rookie Grade: 86.9 (Rank: 1/22)

Principal Opponent: Laviska Shenault Jr.

Week 11 Snaps: 21

Hamilton played 21 snaps this week before exiting with a knee injury. He still made four defensive stops to double his previous high. He spent the majority of his snaps lined up over the slot, where he allowed very little to go past him.


Overall Rookie Grade: 69.1 (Rank: 1/4)

Principal Opponent: Derrick Brown

Week 11 Snaps: 69

Linderbaum gave up a pair of pressures against the Panthers, but his run-blocking performance was his stronger area of play. Linderbaum had some nice blocks against Derrick Brown, the type of giant interior lineman that he has struggled with at times. He was able to beat Brown with quickness but also drive him off the line on combination blocks on more than one occasion.

One thing we learned about each team in Week 11: Dak Prescott back for Cowboys; Eagles additions huge impact - Jeff Kerr

Baltimore Ravens

DeMarcus Robinson is WR1: Robinson steeped up for an offense that only rushed for 115 yards Sunday — Baltimore’s second-lowest total of the season. He finished with nine catches for 128 yards on a day where no other wide receiver had more than two targets (James Proche had zero catches).

The only other Ravens wide receiver to catch a pass was Devin Duvernay (one catch for 3 yards). With Rashod Bateman out for the year, someone among the Ravens wide receivers had to step up. Robinson has emerged as the top wideout with 16 catches for 204 yards over the last three weeks.

Baltimore needs more help at wide receiver, but Robinson is the go-to wideout on this roster with Bateman out.