Is the Ravens’ defense GOOD or LUCKY?

October 16, 2007 |

You’re probably reading this and thinking, “is he serious?” Better yet, “has he been drug tested?” But through 6 games, this is a plausible question. Think about it …

As the Ravens embark on this week’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills and Trent Edwards, a suspecting eye can question whether this defense has been truly tested. In the first 6 games with an exception of Matt Leinart’s “in the game/outta the game” performance on Sept. 23rd, the Ravens defense has faced only one starting quarterback.

In week #1, Carson Palmer threw for 194 yards and a couple touchdowns. Interestingly, this kinda performance could be just enough to outscore the Ravens, if the opposing defense has any muster. Since that turnover-laden debacle against the Bengals, the Ravens have faced a steady diet of backup quarterbacks.

Go down the list: Kellen Clemens, Kurt Warner, Derek Anderson, Trent Dilfer and Gus Frerotte. This isn’t exactly the featured list of NFL gunslingers. The closest arm to legitimacy belongs to Warner and he had his way with the Ravens secondary going 15-20 for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns -– all in less than 30 minutes of game time.

Don’t misunderstand the argument, I’m not critical of the Ravens schedule– they play whoever is next on the calendar. But, to date, this defense has only been tested ONCE by a legitimate starting quarterback of NFL caliber for an entire game.

Thus, can we truly answer whether the loss of Adalius Thomas is more pronounced and deeper-reaching than originally considered? Is this Ravens secondary a concerngiven their observed vulnerability to give up big plays to REAL quarterbacks? Yes, they will stuff the running game, but can they stop a legitimate passing game?

This Sunday, the untested and equally unimpressive Trent Edwards will probably realize the same successes as the unheralded quarterbacks before him on Rex Ryan’s menu. After Buffalo, though, the heat’s gonna get turned up a bit.

Barring injuries and that’s a BIG if, the Ravens defense will see Ben Roethlisberger (twice), Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Matt Hasselbeck over the final nine weeks of the season. Needless to say, this list is much more impressive than what “Ray Lewis and Company” have seen through the midpoint of the schedule.

It seems logical to expect this list of quarterbacks to command more presence and generate points against the Ravens. Even if they’re mildly successful just as Palmer was in the opening game, can the Ravens develop enough offense to beat them? That’s the million-dollar question, huh?

For me, I’m reserving judgment on this 2007 Ravens defense until they face a bonafide starting NFL quarterback on the other side of the ball. Is my assessment reasonable, or am I just seeing the glass half-empty?

We’ll find out together ….

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