Mike Macdonald is doing a fine job scheming up pressure for the Baltimore Ravens, but he could use a proven pass-rusher. Fortunately, a two-time Super Bowl winner who can play on the edge and also slide inside is available.
The Ravens are an ideal fit for veteran Frank Clark, who was officially released by the Denver Broncos on Friday, October 13, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Frank Clark’s release now has been turned into the NFL and his name will appear on the Saturday wire; once it does, Clark will be free to sign wherever he wants. A return to Kansas City is the most likely scenario in the eyes of league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 13, 2023
While Schefter declared a return to the Kansas City Chiefs, with whom Clark won his two Super Bowls, as “the most likely scenario,” the 30-year-old should have no shortage of other suitors. The Ravens are among those who make the most sense as a landing spot, according to CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin and Dallas Robinson of Pro Football Network.
Benjamin noted how injuries should put Clark’s name on the Ravens’ mid-season shopping list: “Baltimore has never been shy about taking swings on veteran pass rushers to aid the rotation.
And both Jadeveon Clowney and Odafe Oweh are banged up, with Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo also sidelined. In other words, the Ravens could use just about any edge reinforcements they can get.”
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) October 17, 2022
Robinson, writing when the Broncos appeared prepared to find a trade partner for Clark, believes the veteran could fit a trend of the Ravens finding success with experienced pass-rushers: “In recent years, Baltimore has gotten a lot of production out of veterans like Clowney, Justin Houston, and Pernell McPhee.”
“Clark could become the most recent contributor to join that list.” Signing Clark would give Macdonald a roving disruptor perfect for Baltimore’s hybrid defense.
.@ArthurMaulet2 making plays in Pittsburgh
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— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 8, 2023
Clark’s presence would also let the Ravens win more one-on-one matchups up front. As Robinson pointed out, the Ravens have “the NFL’s fourth-worst pressure rate through four weeks, ahead of only the Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Las Vegas Raiders.” Injuries haven’t helped, but that ranking has to improve.
It won’t if Macdonald is forced to continue relying on designer blitzes to put heat on quarterbacks. Some of those designs are bearing fruit, like when former Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive back Arthur Maulet blitzed clean for a sack against his former team in Week 5.
The play worked, but as ESPN’s Jamison Hensley noted, it was “the 5th sack of the season by a blitzing Baltimore defensive back.” That’s a telling statistic about how the Ravens are struggling to generate pressure with their primary pass-rushers along the front seven.