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Against the Green Bay Packers and their dreadful protection of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Ravens must ignite a stagnant pass rush.
Rodgers has been sacked 44 times this season, placing him ahead of Kansas City’s Matt Cassel (35) for the NFL lead. After not logging any sacks in the past two games, the Ravens’ defense would do well to exploit an offensive line that has been riddled with injuries all year.
With Terrell Suggs potentially absent because of a knee injury that kept him out the past two weeks – Suggs did not speak to the media on Thursday and did not practice – Jarret Johnson, Dwan Edwards and Co. will have to shoulder the duties. Some of that responsibility will also fall on rookie Paul Kruger, who figures to get expanded playing time if Suggs can’t go.
According to linebacker Ray Lewis, it won’t be all free shots at Rodgers, however.
“They pieced the offensive line back together the way it’s supposed to be right now, and they’re doing a good job really keeping Aaron Rodgers protected right now,” he said.
Another reason Rodgers takes so many sacks is because he holds onto the football for long time. Recently, the Packers have been doing more things to keep him clean, like getting him out of the pocket or keeping extra blockers in.
“I think it’s a combination of getting the ball out quickly, feeling comfortable with the protections called and executing those protections as well as we possibly can,” Rodgers said. “So, those three things combined have allowed us to decrease those number of sacks the last couple of weeks.”
Five different times this season, Rodgers has been sacked at least five times, but only three have come in the last two weeks combined.
“Early on they struggled, but they seem to have gotten that straightened out,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh explained. “They’re protecting very well the last three weeks, and it’s a good offensive line.”