The Ripple Effect of the Defense Starts with Terrance Cody.
While many stand firm in their argument that the Baltimore Ravens will still be a playoff team without Terrell Suggs, they are having a bit more trouble coming to terms with an answer, as to how his production will be supplemented. I think that we all understand, that other players on the defense will have to play better.
The good thing about this defense is that there is now a continuous flow of talent. So, the players are there and in position to improve their game, en route to helping the Ravens supplement said production from Suggs.
Lardarius Webb is coming off of his best professional season, even though he is still young and learning the NFL game. Pernell McPhee and Arthur Jones are both ready to compete for the position vacated by Cory Redding. Paul Kruger seems to be prepared to become a full time starter and Courtney Upshaw is stepping into a defense similar to what was run at Alabama.
However, I believe that that Terrance Cody's development is key in keeping this defense strong. Last season, Terrance Cody wore down, toward the end of the season. Likely, from improper conditioning for the amount of snaps he received. I believe that played a role in what some would view as 'Less than normal-dominant' performances from Haloti Ngata, late in the season.
If Terrance Cody can become the force inside that he is capable of, that could free up Haloti Ngata to take his domination to an even higher level. We could be talking, Streets of Rage type *ss kicking.
The combination of Cody and Ngata inside, if the improvement from Cody is there, would make it extremely difficult to use extra bodies on the edge rushers. Upshaw and Kruger could both see a lot of single match-ups. Said combination would also make the transition easier for McPhee, Jones or both, because they will both see an increased amount of snaps whether one is deemed a starter or not.
This is why I am excited to hear about Terrance Cody's improved physical conditioning. There are some things that I hear during the off-season that may not convince me, but this is something that I truly believe will make a difference this season.
If you take a look at this division, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are both trying to run the ball more. Cleveland is certainly going to run the ball a lot. If Terrance Cody continues to improve, none of them will run on Baltimore. Which means that they will be left to deal with a secondary, including Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams and Ed Reed, all with experience together now.
The main question mark, defensively, will still be placed with the pass rush. However, the jobs of the younger players that we expect to step up, will be easier with such a force in the middle as what we could see this season in Terrance Cody. This isn't a situation where you have Ngata at the NT position with a pure run stopper at NG. Ngata has shown that he can rush the passer (Better than most defensive tackles) and even drop into coverage.
Things could get messy.
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