2. Apologies to Jarret Johnson, but Cory Redding has become the Ravens' most underrated defender. It's hard to explain just how good Redding has become with the Ravens, in part because he doesn't post a lot of big numbers. He has 4.5 sacks this year, which doesn't seem like much, even though it's already the second highest total of his career. (He had 8.0 sacks in 2006 with the Lions.) But if you understand what's required of a defensive end in the Ravens' 3-4 defense, you'll begin see how important he's been. Redding's initial read is almost never up the field, which is one reason why it's so hard to run against Baltimore. He doesn't take himself out of plays by design. He holds his ground, then tries to collapse the pocket with a combination of size and strength. Back when he played for Detroit, he had a lot more freedom to come off the edge and simply chase the quarterback, but with the Ravens, he's done a lot of dirty work, embraced his new role, and become a crucial part of a defense that's probably the best in the NFL. It's almost hard to believe Redding had never been the playoffs in his career before last season. Were just getting better, man," Redding said. "Were just getting better at the right time, and were making a real strong push for this playoff position. And were just getting in the mix and fight for this trophy. We all know what were playing for, and we have something special here, so its all about getting better each week.
Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times