It has been confirmed, by teammates and himself, that Elvis Dumervil will finally make his 2016 debut this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
That is great news for a young Ravens defense that already has nine sacks, good for 7th in the league. Dumervil has averaged over 10 sacks per year in his three years with Baltimore, including 17 in 2014.
In 2014, with a healthy Terrell Suggs and Dumervil chasing quarterbacks for a full season, they were crowned top sack-duo in the league with 29. Is it fair to expect that kind of production again in 2016, now that both are healthy? Probably not. But the good news is that the Ravens don’t have to.
Suggs and Timmy Jernigan are already averaging a sack a game through three weeks. Young players like Brent Urban and Michael Pierce have already made plays in the backfield this season. Other players like Za’Darius Smith and Matt Judon have consistently found themselves in the back field as well.
Adding Dumervil to the mix give the Ravens, realistically, two proven pass rushing outside linebackers in him and Suggs, three developing OLBs in Smith, Judon, and Kamalei Correa, and two stud defensive linemen in Jernigan and Brandon Williams.
Pair all of those with star linebacker C.J. Mosley and Zachary Orr, and the Ravens have one of the deepest front sevens they’ve ever unleashed in the last decade.
Averaging three sacks a game already, a vast improvement over last year’s defense, Dumervil can take the pass rush to another level. Coming off a down year (6 sacks) Dumervil is ready to get back at it, especially with the defense playing the way it is now.
With a steady pass rush, the Ravens’ secondary has already proven they can pick off the ball. Adding another veteran on the edge can only improve on that.
Both the secondary and the front seven are led by veteran players, with Eric Weddle being the quarterback of the secondary, and Suggs’ role as the leader up front. The infusion of veterans and young players gives this defense a deadly balance with fresh legs.
Baltimore’s defense, ranked No. 2 in the league through three games, is resembling some of the better defenses that the Ravens have been known for since the 2000 season. It has the qualities of the same No. 2 defense that lead the Ravens to the AFC Championship in 2008, Joe Flacco’s rookie year.
If the defense plays as dominant throughout the year as it has the first three weeks, the post season will be a very real possibility for Baltimore. Flacco has already proven himself as one of the best post season QBs in the league (10-5 record in the postseason). With an experienced Flacco and a dominant defense, Baltimore will be a team to watch if they make the playoffs.
Baltimore is a team that prides itself on physical, playmaking defense. With a healthy Dumervil being added to an already deep squad, this team could be deadly.