New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton held his first conference call Tuesday with local media after the team’s bye week. When asked about the team’s Week 7 opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, he immediately focused on the recent success of their pass rush. Against the Tennesee Titans on Sunday, the Ravens had a franchise-record 11 sacks of Marcus Mariota.
“Well certainly their pass rush (produced). But I think, just as importantly, their efficiency yesterday on first and second down and really putting Tennessee into those certain favorable down and distances that you want defensively. I thought just watching the game they were real efficient offensively. I thought they were on schedule, they had balance, (and) their third down numbers were fantastic. Overall, it was an impressive win for them.”
Later, Payton was asked about the longevity of 36-year-old Ravens star outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who has 4.5 sacks.
“He’s someone that has great athleticism, great knowledge, understands how he wants to rush and it’s amazing,” Payton said. “Those are unique players that don’t come around very often.”
So we can tell right away that the Saints aren’t taking this opponent lightly. They’re right to be concerned. The Athletic’s Deuce Windham wrote up a good film study on the Ravens’ pass rush success, summing it up well:
“It isn’t just one player standing out and dominating along the defensive front for Baltimore. They have 13 players who have recorded a sack through six games. There are 11 teams that currently have fewer sacks than the Ravens have individual players with sacks. It’s also important to note that four of those 13 players got their first sack against the Titans. This speaks to a team that’s coming with a balanced defensive attack.”