David Ojabo and Odafe Oweh are already injured three weeks into the season, so the Baltimore Ravens need help at outside linebacker. Now, the team appears primed to sign two-time Super Bowl winner Kyle Van Noy, based on multiple reports.
He’s going to be added to the practice squad, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson.
She reported the would-be signing just prior to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler detailing that while “no agreement has been reached,” there is “mutual interest and optimism” between the Ravens and Van Noy.
Those reports were later endorsed by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, who mentioned Van Noy still needs to “take physical, etc, for deal to be finalized.”
Fowler, Anderson and Zrebiec tracked the apparent deal after NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo revealed Van Noy was visiting with the Ravens earlier on Tuesday, September 26. Garafolo also noted how “it’s the nine-year vet’s second time meeting with the team, so the chances of a signing seem pretty high, especially given how banged up Baltimore is at LB right now.”
Signing Van Noy would make sense for a defense being stripped to the bone at the edges of the front seven. Van Noy is 32, but he’s versatile enough to rush from either side or blitz through the middle, making him a good fit for the pressure-based scheme being called by defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.
Kyle Van Noy Has Skills Ravens Need
Van Noy won a pair of Super Bowls with the New England Patriots by thriving as a roving pass-rusher. He has 33.5 sacks to his credit and has also showcased his talents on the blitz for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers.
The play is significant because it shows Van Noy’s ability to win rushing off the edge in a version of the hybrid 3-4 front still used by the Ravens. Creating outside pressure is what Macdonald needs Ojabo and Oweh to do in this system, but their struggles to stay healthy and consistent are hamstringing those plans.
Even without pressure off the edge, the Ravens can still put heat on the pocket by blitzing through the middle. It’s something Van Noy does well, the way No. 53 did as a member of the Dolphins for this sack, forced fumble against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020.
Getting Van Noy up to speed and adding him to Baltimore’s gameday pressure packages will offset the impact of Oweh and Ojabo being on the shelf.
Injuries Mounting at Key Spot
To say the ranks are thin at outside linebacker would be an understatement. In fact, it’s more accurate to identify Clowney as virtually the last man standing.
The mounting list of injuries at Clowney’s position was outlined by Zrebiec, who named Tyus Bowser and Malik Hamm among the casualties.
It’s the absences of Oweh and Ojabo that are the most keenly felt, since expectations were high for both edge-rushers. Meeting those expectations has been a problem for Oweh, with the Ravens’ first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft making just 10 starts and registering a mere eight sacks since entering the pros.
Ojabo was expected to form a productive bookend tandem with Oweh, but the former Michigan standout missed most of his rookie campaign recovering from a torn Achilles. A sack in Week 1 against the Houston Texans hinted Ojabo could be primed for a breakout campaign, only for an ankle injury during the 22-19 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts to sideline him again two weeks later.
There’s room for an experienced outside linebacker who can quickly learn the playbook and ensure Baltimore’s defense isn’t left short at a vital position for too long. Van Noy fits the bill.