View Full Version : GRETZ: Building a Defense: Part 4/Baltimore

03-01-2005, 07:31 PM
Probably a repost but I never saw it.


GRETZ: Building a Defense: Part 4/Baltimore
Feb 28, 2005, 2:50:29 AM by Bob Gretz

(This is the fourth of six Chiefs Skinny columns on the best defenses in the NFL during the 2004 season, how they were built and what lessons their success may teach the Chiefs.)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3


In 2000, the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl on the shoulders of one of the most impressive defensive performances in recent NFL history.

Led by Pro Bowlers LB Ray Lewis, NT Sam Adams and S Rod Woodson, the Ravens led the NFL in fewest points allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed and they were second in total yards given up. In 20 games that season, they allowed 20 or more points just three times. In four post-season games, they allowed just 23 total points and only one touchdown.

Within two seasons, all but three starters on that championship defense were gone, as the Ravens were forced to clear the salary cap books. In 2004, only two starters remained: Lewis and CB Chris McAlister. A third, LB Peter Boulware spent the year on the PUP list because of injury.

There was no Super Bowl last year for the Ravens; they didn’t even make the playoffs. But Baltimore turned in one of the best defensive performances of the season, ranking in the top 10 in most of the important statistics on that side of the ball. Only twice did they allow more than 24 points, including 27 to the Chiefs in losing a Monday night game in October.

They did it with a defense built almost entirely through the draft. Of the 18 players who made a contribution to the defense, 14 were either drafted or signed by the Ravens as rookie free agents. That includes first round picks like Lewis (1996), McAlister (1999), S Ed Reed (2002) and LB Terrell Suggs (2003.) Those four have a dozen Pro Bowl appearances between them.

In ‘04, eight of the 11 starters were drafted and two more were developed by the Ravens as rookie free agents. Only NT Kelly Gregg did not enter the NFL with Baltimore. The only unrestricted free agent to get any playing time was safety Corey Fuller. Then, there was Deion Sanders, signed out of retirement to be the Ravens nickel back after former Chiefs DB Dale Carter was forced to miss the season because of a blood clot.

Thanks to a personnel department run by Phil Savage (new GM of the Cleveland Browns) and a college scouting group led up by Eric DeCosta, Baltimore has not had to spend money in free agency. Head coach Brian Billick and GM Ozzie Newsome had good information to make decisions on defensive players. The Ravens have seldom missed on that side of the ball. In the last five years, they’ve drafted 16 defensive players and found six starters among that group and 10 are still with the organization.

They found them early in the first round; Suggs was the 10th pick in 2003. They found them later in the first; Reed was the 24th pick in 2002. They also found them with the 52nd pick (Weaver), 62nd choice (Baxter), 126th spot (Hartwell) and at No. 186 (Thomas) in the sixth round.

Baltimore has decisions to make in 2005, as defensive starters Baxter, Douglas and Hartwell are all unrestricted free agents.

Here’s a look at the basics involving the Baltimore defense.

Head Coach/Background: Brian Billick finished his sixth season as head coach of the Ravens in 2004. His background is offense; he spent six years as offensive coordinator in Minnesota before becoming head coach in Baltimore.
Personnel Decision Maker: Billick and GM Ozzie Newsome.
Coordinator/Experience: Mike Nolan has been in the NFL for 18 years, all of those spent on the defensive side of the ball. He served as defensive coordinator for 11 seasons with the New York Giants, Washington, the New York Jets and the Ravens for the last three years. He’s now the head coach in San Francisco.
Pro Bowl performers: LB Ray Lewis, LB Terrell Suggs, S Ed Reed.
Starters/key contributors from:
o Draft: LB Ray Lewis (’96/1st), LB Cornell Brown (’97/6th), CB Chris McAlister (’99/1st), LB Adalius Thomas (’00/6th), CB Gary Baxter (’01/2nd), LB Edgerton Hartwell (’01/4th), S Ed Reed (’02/1st), DE Anthony Weaver (’02/2nd), S Chad Williams (’02/6th), LB Terrell Suggs (’03/1st), DE Jarret Johnson (’03/4th.)

o Undrafted free agents: DE Marques Douglas (2001), S Will Demps (2002) NT Maake Kemoeatu (2002.)

o Trade: none

o UFA: S Corey Fuller (2003.)

o Street free agents: NT Kelly Gregg (2000), CB Raymond Walls (2003), CB Deion Sanders (2004.)

Leading tackler: LB Ray Lewis, 200.
Leader in interceptions: S Ed Reed, 9.
Leader in sacks: LB Terrell Suggs, 10.5.
Average first-round draft position last 5 years: 18th.
Top defensive picks last 5 years: DB Gary Baxter (’01/2nd), S Ed Reed (’02/1st), DL Anthony Weaver (’02/2nd), LB Terrell Suggs (’03/1st), DL Dwan Edwards (’04/2nd.)
‘04 Statistics: touchdowns allowed (2), sacks per pass play (11), takeaways (7), yards allowed (6), rushing yards allowed (8t), passing yards allowed (10), 3rd down (8), red zone (2.)
The opinions offered in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Kansas City Chiefs.

03-01-2005, 07:55 PM
Gretz may be the worlds biggest douchebag. The Chiefs CANNOT draft, so they can't build thru the draft.

-Classless, deranged lunatic.