When I first started this post it read "Props to Dean Pees" not "Props or Blame?" maybe the mod who changed it on me should change it back?
Also, if you check Pees record as a DC, it's pretty good - despite what some NE fans may say - so he's certainly proven to be at least "competent". In fact, NE's D since he left has taken a total nose-dive.
The 3 man rush you mentioned in the Bengals game I remember, the RB missed his blocking assignment. Under Pagano we showed blitz a lot but then backed off. This was effective since we blitzed a lot and it kept teams guessing. We don't do anything on defense now that has any offense guessing. There are no fancy blitz packages. The classic Ravens defense is on life support, until Rex gets fired and comes back (wishful thinking on my part).
Has it struck anyone else that the D's improved play over the last couple of weeks coincides with Pees coaching from upstairs during the games? It may be that for him, being able to dial up personnel packages & defenses from a view of the whole field more than outweighs not being able to talk directly with the players while they're on the sidelines.
Now watch there be an "accidental" communications malfunction at Qualcomm Sunday afternoon....
I think it also has a lot to do with Suggs return too.
They weren't blitzing much earlier, but they weren't getting to the QB, even with blitzes, so they decided to try and play more cover defense. Now, with Suggs back, I think they feel that they can be more aggressive and because teams have to account for Suggs - which they didn't with anyone else when Suggs wasn't play - it allows the blitzes to be a little more successful too.
Kruger, as your primary rusher, isn't going to do much. Kruger, with Suggs drawing the attention, can/will be a much more successful pass rusher.
Now, if we can get McPhee back up to speed and healthy.....