When Rex Ryan was the Ravens' defensive coordinator, he was known for bringing "organized chaos", with blitzes coming on any down from any direction involving any number of personnel.
Under current defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, the Ravens appear to have adjusted their blitzing strategy, using more base sets and rushing four more frequently.
But Mattison says that's not necessarily the case. He still sees Ryan's defensive tendencies in the scheme that he runs.
"Having been here with Rex, I was part of that scheme, and I tend to believe that we still have that scheme," Mattison said. "If you chart it, and look and see how many times you blitz, what blitzes you had ... I don't know what the numbers were compared to then. But always the first thing and the only thing we'll ever do is do what I feel is best for this defense and gives us the best chance to win and put these players in the best position where they can be successful, and that's what we do."
Mattison has come under fire for not blitzing that frequently, but he says that statistically, the Ravens blitz as often as most teams in the league. The key, Mattison says, is making those blitzes count.
"When you chart the percentage of times that we do blitz, it's up there," Mattison said. "It's just when we blitz, we've got to make sure we beat people one-on-one. If they get the ball out quick, then it goes to the next phase of defense where we've got to get people there and we've got to tackle.
"I always want it to be ramped up more. The Ravens are notoriously a pressure team, and to me ... it's not about the pressure, it's not about how many times it's a pressure, it's [that] when you bring the pressure, you've got to beat a guy one-on-one. I think a lot of times, people think that when you blitz, it's a free runner, and that doesn't happen. The only thing that blitzing does for you most of the time is it gets you one-on-one with somebody. And our guys understand that, and we've worked on that hard this week."
Mattison was peppered with pass rush-related questions this afternoon; four of the first five questions reporters tossed his way were related to his blitzes and the defense's ability to get pressure.
Baltimore's defensive coordinator said that the public's perception that he's somewhat passive in his game-planning doesn't bother him. He says his sole concern is how his defense performs on the field.
"To me, it's really all about what's best for this defense," Mattison said. "I don't go into a game or come out of a game and say, 'Oh we only blitzed this many times.' To me, it's what the outcome of the game is. The thing that people talk about is: Did you blitz? How many times did you blitz? It isn't about that. It's what opportunities you had, what the situation was, and who's in there to blitz."