The bye week always presents an opportunity for some self-scouting. That’s what the Baltimore Ravens did over the past few days. One of the things that came up in their self- evaluation was how bad the tackling has been for them recently.
Tackling is critical for any defensive unit. And, that’s especially the case for a team like that Ravens that is so defensive minded. That’s exactly why tackling was a focus for Baltimore this week in practice.
“We will. We have to, because we have to get better,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said when asked about tackling. “We actually prioritize it all the time; it’s not like we don’t prioritize it. But we’ve got to keep coaching it. We’ve got to coach it better.”
The Ravens have 58 missed tackles through seven games, according to Pro Football Reference. Those 58 missed tackles are the most in the NFL.
Missed tackles have been an ongoing issue for the Ravens. Baltimore had 134 missed tackles in 16 games last year, which was the second-most in the league.
Second-year inside linebacker Patrick Queen has had his share of missed tackles. He shared what’s behind it and how he plans to rectify the situation.
“Thinking— thinking too much, overthinking. It’s really simple when you think about it,” Queen said last week. “It’s just technique— just go in there, break down, tackle, move your feet, wrap up. There are a lot of times that I just threw my shoulder in there. I wish I could take those plays back and just re-do them, re-live them, and just execute on that part. It would’ve saved us a lot of yards, a lot of points. But the only thing I can do now is just improve on that, get better at that, and just try to help my team win more games.”
The missed tackles fall on more than just Queen’s shoulders. As mentioned earlier the Ravens as a team have the most missed tackles among all NFL defenses.
This week they will face the Minnesota Vikings and running back Dalvin Cook. It won’t be easy to corral one of the league’s best running backs. But it’s a job the Ravens defense has to do.
No wonder tackling is one of the primary areas the Ravens want to improve this week.
“There’s a lot that has to do with it— from understanding our responsibilities and doing our job, to the technique of tackling, to the angles, the rotation of our secondary, to the fits of our linebackers, to just getting guys on the ground,” Harbaugh said. “And we’ll be working on all those things. You have to. You have to be fundamentally great. If you’re not fundamentally great, you have no chance. So, it starts with that. If you want to be a good football team, we’ve got to be great at the little things, and we’ve got to keep chasing that.”