The Baltimore Ravens defense is flirting with numbers not seen since... the 2000 Ravens defense.
What made that unit special? A room full of brothers who went onto the field like a hellhounds who kicked everybody in the teeth for thinking they should be on the same field as them. And while the game has changed, most notably knowing half the big hits the 2000 defense delivered would be game-check worthy fines and suspensions, the 2023 defense is hungry to contend with such a unit.
On the field, they’re starkly different. But in the locker room, they’re going about it in the same fashion. It’s a room filled with camaraderie.
“We’re all happy for each other,” Inside linebacker Patrick Queen said. “When one person eat, we all eat.”
But that happiness isn’t the driving force. It’s a swagger of believing in themselves, each other and believing they can stop anyone from gaining ground on them. And when even so much as a first down is gained, it’s upsetting to the defense.
“We’re a team that … Like you said, shoot, you give up 10 yards on us, we’re going to be upset, no matter what it is,” safety Geno Stone said. “[If it’s a] big play, we’re going to be upset. We’re probably going to have plays that we look [at] on film, and we’re like, ‘We can be way better.’ It’s great. You want a defense like that because you never want to be satisfied.”
There’s the final catalyst for this defenses production.
“... we’re a bunch of – excuse my French – we’re a bunch of [A-Holes] out there,” Stone said. “It is what it is, and we want to be the best defense we can be.”
“That’s what we definitely try to be,” Queen said. “I don’t even think we’re trying to be. I think that’s what we are. We’re all nice guys but at the end of the day we’re... what you said. That’s what we have to keep playing like.”
At the beginning of the year, the defense set out with one goal in mind. To be No. 1, Queen said. Finding the recipe to be No. 1 from year-to-year can differ, but right now, the Ravens ingredients of being a tight knit group who on the field are a bunch of A-holes is working.