After being knocked down by the Derrick Henry Titans in the playoffs, the Ravens decided to improve their defensive line during the offseason.
Baltimore traded for defensive linemen All-Pro Calais Campbell, applied the franchise label to Matthew Judon and his 9.5 sacks, and then attempted to sign defensive lineman Michael Brockers away from the Rams. When the acquisition of Brockers failed following a physical event, Baltimore rebounded by snatching independent rusher Derek Wolfe from the market.
In his introductory conference call, Wolfe surpassed Baltimore’s strengthening of his seven before this off-season and set the bar high for the Ravens in the coming season.
“We can certainly have the best defensive line in the league,” said Wolfe, according to the team’s website. “We could break records, break the precipitation record for (at least) yards per race. These are the kinds of goals that I like to set. Sometimes you don’t reach them, but you can get closer. It helps you win. “
The most dominant anti-rush defense of the modern era comes from Baltimore; the 2000 Ravens allowed only 970 yards, or 60.6 per game, and 2.7 yards per attempt en route to a Super Bowl victory.
Last season, the 14-2 Ravens allowed 93.4 yards per game (fifth in the NFL) and 4.4 yards per attempt (20th), but their last performance was by far the worst of the season, allowing 217 yards rushing to Henry and Tennessee in their Division Upset.
As Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and the company break rushing records on the offensive side of the ball, Wolfe hopes to instill the same excellence on his new defensive line in Baltimore, at least for a make-it or break-it season with Jackson on his recruit and Wolfe for his one-year contract.