The Ravens traditionally over the years have been considered one of the better defensive teams in the league. Always physical and forcing turnovers, the Ravens could always count on their defense making an impact play or two at some point during a game. And while this defense isn't as dominating as some in the past, one guy that presents an issue is defensive lineman Haloti Ngata. Ngata has always been a player I respected for various reasons. He combines strength and speed to make live miserable for offensive lineman. Already, Ngata has two interceptions on the year. At 6-4, 340, that's an impressive feat. As Bucs guard Logan Mankins says, containing Ngata is always a challenge. "It's a big challenge every time you got him. He's one of the biggest guys in the league and strongest and he's actually very athletic, too. So, he presents multiple challenges and you've got be on your game when you're dealing with him."
So how will the Bucs challenge Ngata and that defense of the Ravens? Well, if you ask Lovie Smith, it will be running the football.
"With us being a running team we need to be able to open up some different options in our passing game, we need to be able to do that. It will be big challenge up front for us."
Now, you know I've written about the Bucs being a passing team. Running the football has been an issue for this team since the start of the year. While I think it's nice in theory to say the Bucs have to try and establish the run game, I also think it's foolish. This is a passing team. Mike Glennon gives the team the best chance to win. Heck, look at the Ravens stats on defense this year. They stop the run, struggle against the pass. They are 26th in pass defense. Factor in that Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson was placed on injured reserve after spraining his toe against the Colts and you can see why Baltimore's secondary has some concerns. Also, Lardarious Webb played in only his second game of the season in week 5 after dealing with a back injury.
It's noble of the Bucs to try and run the football against the Ravens. It's also wishful thinking. The passing game can open up the running game. Maybe Glennon throws a couple of picks this Sunday. Maybe he goes back to looking pretty ordinary at the quarterback position. Maybe coming out throwing is the wrong game plan. I don't care. You play to your teams strength. Right now, the passing game is ahead of the running game. This is Glennon's team. The Bucs need to embrace this thinking. If they don't, Sunday could be a long game.
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