OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens inside linebackers have struggled over parts of this season.
Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison have missed some tackles and had some challenges in pass coverage.
It's a natural progression for young players, but the Ravens are going to need more production.
“I think it’s the full gamut of recognizing different schemes and getting downhill, more than anything else, and reacting faster to different types of schemes," defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. "[Inside linebackers coach] Rob [Ryan] has done yeoman’s work as far as trying to get them there, but when the ball is snapped, and if they’re slow to it, you’re going to see the results that you see. So, they just have to react faster, attack, and then once they get there, they need to tackle.”
Queen does lead the Ravens with 33 tackles over five games. He also has one sack and one quarterback hit.
Last season, he faced disapproval for his perceived inability to drop back in coverage and allowed three touchdowns with a 104.4 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks, according to Pro Football Reference.
However, Queen finished third in Defensive Rookie of the Year honors behind Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young and Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn.
Harrison is more of a thumper and has 14 tackles.
Expectations are still high for both players.
"I think that in PQ’s [Patrick Queen’s] case, it’s a young, fast player that’s trying to do everybody else’s job, and he needs to do his," Martindale said. "He’s trying to make every play; just make the plays that he’s supposed to make, and we’ll be good as a defense. But once again, there’s a standard of the defense, and we’re not playing up to it right now, so we’ve got to do some different things and change up pictures for upcoming opponents.
"All eyes are ahead to the Chargers right now, and it’s going to be a tough challenge. Just so you know, it’s going to be like a Kansas City-type challenge, when you say that. So, that’s one of the things about having a flexible defense like we do – it’ll help us out.”