Ravens’ roster coming together, including last year’s defensive line

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens’ defensive line has produced one of the NFL”s best interior pass-rushing units and has been stout at stopping the run.

General manager Eric DeCosta wants to keep that momentum rolling into next season and has brought back the entire defensive line from last season —Justin Madubuike, Michael Pierce, Broderick Washington, Travis Jones, and Brent Urban.

The return of the players and the continuity they bring will help new defensive coordinator Zach Orr, who plans to continue playing aggressively.

“Obviously, last year was a great year, and the thing we did last year was go through the process,” Orr said. “We started in the offseason around this time of year, [we] self-scouted [and] looked at what we did good, looked at what we can build on. And being led by Coach ‘Harbs,’ the thing that he pushes us to do as coaches is we have to be in front of things. You want to be cutting edge, always want to evolve and always want to be ready for the next thing the offense may present. So, we’re going to get in the lab this offseason.”

Last season, the Ravens’ defense became the first unit in NFL history to lead the league in scoring (16.5 points per game), sacks (60) and takeaways (31).

The Ravens re-signed Madubuike and Urban this offseason.

Madubuike agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $98 million over four years. Last season, Madubuike, 26, started all 17 games for the Ravens, producing career highs in tackles (56), sacks (13), tackles for loss (12), quarterback hits (33) and forced fumbles (2), en route to earning his first Pro Bowl honors and second-team All-Pro honors.

“Justin is great against the run. He’s great against the pass, and this year what I felt like helped take his game to the next level [is] if you really just watch our film and pay attention to it, he played all across the defensive line,” Orr said.

Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew (10) throws over Ravens defensive end Brent Urban (97) for a touchdown during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium. By Tommy Gilligan, USA Today Sports

Urban, 32, signed a one-year deal on Wednesday. He played in all 17 regular-season games last season with three starts. He finished with career highs in sacks (3.0) and quarterback hits (six), made 22 tackles, and swatted two passes.

Urban was selected by the Ravens in the fourth round in the 2014 draft. He played his first four seasons in Baltimore before signing with Tennessee, Chicago, and Dallas. He returned to the Ravens in 2022.

The Ravens did lose former defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, who became the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator. Coach John Harbaugh replaced Weaver with Dennis Johnson, who was a collegiate coach for the past 12 years (2012-23), most recently leading Baylor’s defensive line since 2020.


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