The situation was worrying for Ravens Defense Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. From injuries to COVID, the team was forced to make adjustments on the fly as players found themselves in unexpected roles.
The Ravens are heading into the division’s showdown Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals with 11 backs on the Injured Reserve and 9 on the COVID-19 Reserve / List. All Martindale can do is look at the lineup and be amazed at how much has changed since the gathering.
“If you jump from the start of the season with our squad right now, I don’t know if we are playing soccer or Squid Games,” Martindale said, referring to the popular Netflix show, in which members compete in children’s games with a deadly the outcome. rates. “I mean, it’s crazy how things have changed so much.”
On Sunday 31-30 the loss of the Ravens against the Green Packers they lost without any minor ones, as a few days before the game Chuck Clark was in the COVID-19 reserve / list. Clarke’s absence prompted defender Geno Stone to make defensive signals on the pitch, despite never having played more than 28% of defensive flicks before a game.
With the AFC North title hanging by a thread, the Ravens’ defenses could be further depleted by the defensive tackle of Justin Madubuike, inside midfielder Christian Welch and outside midfielders Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee, both on the reserve / COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
Martindale believes that players who test positive are in a tough spot because they want to compete with their teammates in a high stakes game. However, for those who know how to play, they have a “next player” mentality.
“Everyone knows the standards when they go to this building,” Martindale said. “As I said, the human resources department, headed by [general manager] Eric [DeCosta], [director of player personnel] George [Kokinis] and [director of player personnel] Joe [Hortiz]I think they picked the right guys to be here. We just have to catch up with them. ”
Defending Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase
Martindale said he has no plans to use the same defensive circuit he used to fight Packers receiver Davante Adams on Bengals rookie Ja’Marra Chase, who made eight catches for 201 yards and a touchdown in his first match against the Ravens.
“To sit here and think that we will use the same plan against Ja’Marr Chase as we did Davante Adams and [Packers quarterback] Aaron Rogers, we’re on the wrong street, ”Martindale said. “As I said last week, Davante Adams is the top two receivers in the league and he’s not second.”
The Ravens held Adams to six catches per 44 yards and landings by implementing a protective package called 17 Bulldogs, which included a ton of double covers. Rogers said this is one of the most interesting defense schemes he has seen “in a long time.”
Martindale said the Ravens will have to do something different because Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow is not Aaron Rogers and the Bengals have three talented receivers and tight end CJ Uzoma.
“Aaron Rogers is a Hall of Fame quarterback and I don’t think we’re willing to buy a gold jacket for Joe,” Martindale said. “But it will be a difficult task, because you know about a three-headed monster that has a wide receiver and everyone sleeps on it. [Uzomah]… ”
>> Attack Coordinator Greg Roman said the Ravens “definitely want to be more productive” in their two-point conversion attempts. The team has 2-8 this season, including important fourth-quarter penalties in each of the past three weeks. “I don’t think we are very happy with our production,” he said. “So this is something that we are definitely working on to improve it, to get where we want it.”
>> Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton said the Ravens “put a lot of effort” into developing Devin Duvernay’s wide-ranging successor as a return punt, which he didn’t have before joining the Ravens in 2020. in his first season as a staff starter, he was named to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday as a comeback specialist. “He had everything on hand,” Horton said. “And once we knew what we had, we knew that if we took care of the business and helped it make the right decisions, we would get it where we wanted it. We are very discouraged. We are very excited about what he did. But to be honest, he’s just getting started. ”