I'm not sure about you guys, but I never thought our defense would be our strongest unit this year. I thought we might be in a bit of trouble with Kampman and Harris going down, but so far guys have been able to come in and step up. What's most impressive to me is the play of Brad Jones. When he initially started at LOLB for Kampman against Dallas, he was great in coverage but was lacking rushing the passer. It's been kind of a common theme on this blog the past few weeks that our pass rush needs to improve. Specifically, at LOLB. Well Jones sure answered the call tonight.
He had a sack and got pressure on Flacco many times while going against a very good RT in Michael Oher. What really surprised me was the pressure we were able to put on the Ravens tonight. We collapsed the pocket a number of times, and even had some success getting to Flacco when only rushing three guys.
How about B.J. Raji!? The trend of Raji making big time plays is becoming more and more noticeable. The more playing time he gets, the more big plays we see out him. His size and athleticism continue to impress me, and I really have no doubt he is going to turn into a top 3-4 d-lineman barring any injuries.
And there is one more fellow rookie that continues to impress...Clay freakin' Matthews. And too think I was actually a bit skeptical about TT trading up to draft him..He had 2 sacks tonight, giving him 7 on the year and seems to improve more and more every week. He has been good rushing the passer all year but what is most impressive about him is his all round ability. He can cover, he can stuff the run, and he has the rare ability to finish plays off plays.
How about Thompson's 2008 draft? It has resulted in 3 defensive starters, who all appear to have very bright futures with our team. So much for him "not being able to evaluate talent" or "not being able to draft" right?
Then factor in Woodson (who really should be considered for the MVP award), Jenkins, and Collins. This defense really is the real deal and I think we've done enought against two very good offenses to prove that.
P.S.- Don't look now but Hawk is actually starting to look like a very good LB...