Thu, 08 Jun 2023

Ravens look for defensive improvement against Patriots

Field Level Media
22 Sep 2022, 12:19 GMT+10

Lamar Jackson threw for 318 yards, rushed for another 119 and accounted for four touchdowns last week.

But his performance still wasn't enough to lead his Baltimore Ravens over the Miami Dolphins.

Now Baltimore will be looking for a different result against another AFC East foe as it clashes with the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon in Foxborough, Mass.

All eyes will be on the Ravens' defense, a unit that just allowed a whopping 547 yards of total offense in the 42-38 loss to Miami. The secondary was especially bad, allowing Tua Tagovailoa to throw for 469 yards and six touchdowns.

Four of those touchdowns came in the fourth quarter alone.

"They were just blown coverages basically," Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said. "Those are mistakes.

"We have those kinds of things in the back end, and we've had those things before and there's certain guys that got to grow up fast. ...They're young guys, they're rookies, they're playing for the first time, they know that. I'm sure they took responsibility for it, the coaches take responsibility for it, we've all got to take responsibility for it."

Things might not be getting easier, though, as the Ravens (1-1) will be forced to slow down a New England receiving corps that looked stellar in a 17-14 Week 2 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Nelson Agholor finished with six receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown, and Jakobi Meyers hauled in nine of his 13 targets for 95 yards. That success through the air caused the running game to flourish, allowing the Patriots (1-1) to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter.

Meyers did not participate in Wednesday's practice because of a knee injury, though.

Perhaps Baltimore can learn a thing or two from New England's ability to bounce back from a loss to the Dolphins.

The Patriots dropped their season opener against Miami, but their defense fared much better than the Ravens did against the electric offense down in South Beach. New England's defense has been among the league's best through the first two weeks of the season, allowing just 34 points and the fourth-fewest yards per game (275).

Despite the effectiveness of his defense, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows Jackson is still going to be hard to contain.

"Challenges every week, but certainly the Ravens have a lot of them," Belichick said. "It's the quarterback, it's his passing game, the running game, his ability to make loose and extended plays, the explosiveness of their receivers and tight ends -- and him.

"We'll have to do the best we can to defend those threats and schemes that they run."

New England might be defending those schemes without safety Kyle Duggar, who did not practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury.

Safeties Joshuah Bledsoe (groin) and Adrian Phillips (ribs) were limited, as was defensive back Cody Davis (calf), linebacker Raekwon McMillan (thumb) and defensive linemen Davon Godchaux (back) and DeMarcus Mitchell (knee).

Receiver/ returner Devin Duvernay (concussion) and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (groin) were the only two Ravens with injuries that did not participate in Wednesday's practice.

Running back J.K. Dobbins (knee) was a full participant, and Jackson was limited due to his right elbow.

--Field Level Media

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