Pagano Wants More 1st-Down Pressure

Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano said the Ravens need more negative-yardage plays.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano said he wants to get more pressure and tackles behind the line of scrimmage on early downs.

If the Ravens can accomplish that, Pagano believes additional sack opportunities and forced fumbles will come.

“Some of the areas that we’re going to focus on – and it’s obvious to everybody – is that we have to create more negative-yardage plays, particularly on first down,” Pagano told WBAL Radio last weekend. “We have to do a better job of pressuring the quarterback in certain situations and get that amped up again.”

Baltimore’s defense finished third in points allowed per game and fifth against the rush, but the 12 forced fumbles and a franchise-low 27 sacks have been on the collective minds of Ravens fans and pundits.

Pagano said the Ravens could tinker with their defensive front more on early downs in an attempt to solve those issues.

“From a turnover standpoint, for the last few years, we’ve forced a lot of interceptions,” said Pagano. ” But, from a fumble standpoint, I think with a little bit more activity and pressure on first- and second-down situations, some line movement and stunts and things like that, we might be able to force some more fumbles in that regard.”

Based solely on their reputation as an attacking, opportunistic unit, opposing offenses tried multiple counters to the Ravens’ pressure.

“I know we left some plays out there, some things that we’ve got to finish,” Pagano said. “Because of reputation and the players that we have, [opposing offenses] are going to protect their quarterback, whether they do that by handing the ball off, screens, three-step drops.

“When we get to third down when it’s really a passing situation, you’ll find most teams against the Ravens are going seven-man protection, so they’re going to make it really hard for us to get there.”

Getting down to the brass tacks of it, Pagano said players like 2010 sack leader Terrell Suggs, who boasted 11, Haloti Ngata (5 ½ sacks) and other Ravens defenders must simply beat their blockers.

“We’ve got to count on Terrell and some of these guys winning some one-on-one battles,” Pagano said. “I think that’s the step we’ve got to take.”

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