Opinion: The Baltimore Ravens’ Defensive Future
People have been talking about how great this Baltimore Ravens defense has turned out. And with 38 sacks, 15 forced fumbles, and 22 interceptions, more than Jacksonville, who would argue? But what’s died down pretty quickly are the rumors from a couple weeks ago of Dean Pees’ impending retirement. Being responsible for keeping the Baltimore Ravens defense so stout over the last two seasons, despite being obliterated by injuries (6 on IR as of today, 10 on IR at the end of last season, all defensive players) means this retirement talk should scare fans a little more than it seems to. Who can we get to fill the void? Who out there could make the most use of all of the playmakers we still have here on defense?
How about Marvin Lewis? The same defensive coordinator that gave us our first Super Bowl and the greatest defense in NFL history (suck it ’85 Bears/whatever year some Stiller is yelling right now) could come in and keep this team rolling. He is quitting his old, ring-less job after all. And why not come back to an organization that offers familiarity and stability? I’m sure if Ozzie Newsome could hand-pick Dean Pees’ replacement it would either be Marvin Lewis or our next candidate, Chuck Pagano. I’m not alone in thinking Pagano’s seat has got to be literally on fire by now after back-to-back .500 seasons followed by a season where his starting quarterback is god-knows-where getting shoulder treatment and his team has only mustered three wins so far. Chuck Pagano gave us some quality defenses back in 2011 and as a secondary coach in 2008 through 2010. “What about Rex?” I hear you query. I’m not recommending Rex, that’s dumb.
But which would you prefer? Marvin Lewis has the crazy-good pedigree, but back when defenses ruled the field and hitting was allowed. Would Chuck Pagano be favored because of his more recent success in the modern NFL or is there some uncertainty after lacking dominant defenses with the Colts? Why not both? Why not have Marvin sitting high at defensive coordinator and Chuck back doing his thing with the secondary? It’s doubtful, but that would be a great situation. Until the offseason hits and we know for sure that Dean Pees is actually bowing out, we won’t know a whole lot. And with the talented players on our roster, it may change from “who do we want” to “who wants us?” This defensive unit could make just about anyone look good enough to become a head coach somewhere. And then have little success and be fired/retire/step down just like Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, and Chuck Pagano (soon).