Originally written on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 11/27/12
It may be no coincidence that as 3rd-year defensive end Arthur Jones seems to be blossoming as an impact player on the Ravens 3-man line, Baltimore's run defense has gotten better, they are generating more pass rush... and overall team performance has improved. People always ask me lately---"are the Ravens playing better defense because they are without Ray Lewis [triceps] ?.." I tell them no. The difference is Arthur Jones is playing the best defensive end of his life right now. That, plus Terrell Suggs is getting faster and stronger at OLB...and LB Paul Kruger is getting better as the season goes on, too. Having Ray Lewis back in time for the 2012 playoffs will only end up making something that is now good even better.       Arthur Jones, DE, 6-3, 315, age 26, 3rd year out of Syracuse, drafted 5th round of the 2010 Draft...Jones had 5 tackles and 2 sacks against the Chargers in the win at San Diego last Sunday. Jones has come a long way from hardly playing at all to making a huge difference in the current Baltimore mix on defense. Don't believe me? Let's hear from John Harbaugh himself in a press conference held earlier this week: Arthur Jones has had two really strong games in a row. Do you think with him, it’s his having more opportunity to have more playing time than he’s had in the past? Or what have you seen in his development? (question from Luke Jones)--- “I’ve just seen in the last three, four weeks, he’s taken a huge leap technique-wise. His feet and his hands are tied together way better now than they were, and that’s a credit to [defensive line coach] Clarence Brooks and to Arthur in just deciding that he wanted to play with great technique. He’s got long arms, a powerful lower body. You’ve seen the way he’s built; he’s got that great lower body. So, it’s really heartening for a coach to see a guy playing that well and to make the strides that he’s made, and it’s huge for our defense.” Harbaugh went on to single out other guys who are playing at a higher level on defense at this point in the season. They are elevating their games to help fill the void from the injuries to Ray Lewis and Pernell McPhee--- Do you think a large portion of the defense’s progress has been on run defense? It looks like you mentioned yesterday kind of getting in more third-and-long situations. (Ryan Mink) “We did toward the end of the game. Early in the game was a little more third-and-medium; toward the end of the game was a little more third-and-long. Anytime you can get in third-and-long, you can kind of get after them a little more with the pass rush, because they can’t get the ball out usually quite as quickly, so we always try to do that. That’s what stopping the run is all about.” Speaking of neat stories, [Terrell] Suggs came back earlier than anticipated, and now you’re talking about Ray [Lewis] coming back way earlier than people anticipated.  Are there some medical miracles going on inside the building or what’s going on? There are two special cases here, because … (Jerry Coleman) “We’ll see about Ray [Lewis], first of all. That has yet to play itself out. I just have so much confidence in who Ray is as a person and a man, and the same thing for Terrell Suggs. [What] a guy like you would never be able to understand is that these guys are physically genetic, special DNA-type guys. (laughing) I can’t relate to that either. They work, and they work harder than anybody in this room physically – that’s for sure. Give credit where credit is due. We’ll just see how Ray [Lewis] does. I know one thing: He’s working. He’s working harder than any of us can imagine to try to get back and get healthy.” We saw a lot of Paul Kruger early in the game. Is he becoming more and more of an impact player, or did we just see some isolated plays? (Peter Schmuck) “No, Paul’s playing really well. The last two, three weeks he’s really, really played well. He’s been a huge impact in our sub packages. He’s getting better every week rushing the passer. He’s playing the run, especially in the sub packages really well. The fact that we’ve … We’ve had some other guys step up like Courtney Upshaw, Albert McClellan. We’ve even got some guys that are pushing their way up through in practice. That allows guys to spread their reps out a little bit and kind of show up a little more in certain areas. That’s probably what Paul’s done with the pass rush stuff.” Brendon [Ayanbadejo] and Josh Bynes stepped up once the injury did happen to Dannell [Ellerbe] out there … (Jason Butt) “They stepped up really well. Josh [Bynes] played really solid, physical, downhill football like he always does. Brendon Ayanbadejo really played well. He was all over the field. Made a huge stop on that run that they had there on second down; I think it was second-and-four or -five. [He] stopped it for no gain – just really stepped up like you would expect a veteran leader to do. He played really well.” It's called team defense. And predictably it will get better as the season and the team peaks entering the playoffs, and they get back Ray Lewis and McPhee. That is basically the trademark of John Harbaugh's coaching style---building a team that gets better as the season gets older.  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

C.J. Spillman Indicted on Sexual Assault Charges

Report: Kevin Love to meet with Lakers

Carli Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Auburn, Oregon to open 2019 season at AT&T Stadium

Butler can’t sign one-year contract unless it’s with Bulls

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

DeAndre Jordan wants 4-year deal, bigger offensive role

Kings reportedly looking into viability of firing Karl

Jim Brown: I ‘encourage and support’ Johnny Manziel

Vincent criticizes NFLPA over spending millions on lawsuits

MLB urges Supreme Court to deny San Jose's A's appeal

Jeanie Buss: Phil Jackson loves the Twitter criticism

Report: Pelicans sign Davis to five-year, $145M extension

Jose Aldo out of UFC 189, replaced by Chad Mendes

Landon Donovan takes shot at Jurgen Klinsmann

Hope Solo admits to using stalling tactics on penalty kick

Scottie Pippen: ‘I was LeBron James before LeBron James’

Feud between Scioscia and Dipoto makes Angels fascinating case study

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh throws out first pitch at Tigers game

MLB’s All-Star roster will now announced be over two days

Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets

Blatter won’t attend World Cup final due to ‘personal reasons’

Sharks have found their starting goalie by acquiring Jones

Fan who caught A-Rod’s 3,000th says he’s received threats

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.