John Harbaugh: Ravens expect to have 'great' D


Ravens coach John Harbaugh isn't shying away from grandiose expectations this season.

After signing veteran defensive backs Tony Jefferson and Brandon Carr in free agency, Baltimore followed up with four draft picks on defense in the first two days of the draft.

"I don't want to overstate the expectations, but I'm not afraid to do that, really," Harbaugh said Sunday, via the team's official website. "I expect these guys to be great. ... We expect to put a great defense on the field."

It's hard to begrudge Harbaugh his excitement.

The Ravens finished last season seventh in total defense and sixth in Football Outsiders' defensive efficiency ratings.

If they had a weakness last season, though, it was in the secondary. This defense topped the charts entering Week 14, only to be shredded to the tune of 401 passing yards and a season-high 496 net yards in a lopsided loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome spent the past two months throwing resources at the pass defense. Baltimore might just boast the league's top safety tandem in Jefferson and Pro Bowler Eric Weddle. In addition to Carr, the cornerback corps now includes first-round pick Marlon Humphrey.

With Elvis Dumervil jettisoned and Terrell Suggs entering his twilight years, the Ravens added a pair of athletic edge rushers in second-round pick Tyus Bowser and third-rounder Tim Williams. The defensive line features a slew of young talent from the past three drafts.

There's ample reason to believe Harbaugh's defense will be dominant this season. On the other hand, there's little reason to believe the offense will outperform last year's No. 24 ranking in Football Outsiders' metrics.