You don't need to review the film to know the Baltimore Ravens' special teams have struggled mightily. But The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel put the coverage teams' poor play in perspective when he pointed out that the Ravens have missed 21 tackles.
According to Pro Football Focus, Anthony Levine and Matt Elam lead the Ravens with three missed tackles apiece. During the 2012 regular season, the Ravens missed just 20 tackles on special teams. Now, with nine games left this season, the Ravens have already surpassed that total.
So, no one should be surprised that the Ravens rank 28th in the NFL in kickoff coverage and 24th in punt coverage.
Part of the problem has been the roster turnover. Three of the Ravens' top four tacklers on special teams last season -- Brendon Ayanbadejo, Anthony Allen and Sean Considine -- are no longer on the team.
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The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston disagrees with those who question the Ravens' mental toughness. "I would say they have been getting outplayed," Preston wrote. "Offensively, they can't get off to fast starts, and defensively, they can't get off the field in the fourth quarter."
Tight end Ed Dickson told Comcast SportsNet that Terrell Suggs' message that the team is in a "state of emergency" was the right one. “We need that sense of urgency, because it’s getting later in the season,” Dickson said. “Whenever we lose to that team (the Steelers), I don’t even want say their name, it’s a slap in the face. Guys want to take this bye week to get healthy, get stuff done, and self-check yourself – what am I not doing well? Every individual person has to do that, take their pride and throw it to the side. That’s how good teams become great teams. When our leader, Sizz (Suggs), says we’re in a state of an emergency, that means it’s time to hone in, because we’re all on this ride. When our leader says something like that, it’s time to pay attention.”
Wide receiver Marlon Brown says the team needs to "come out swinging" when they come off the bye. Courtesy of the team's official website, here's a video of the players talking before taking four days off.