Against the Ravens, we elected to dress just five defensive linemen. It worked. For a week at least. We all should applaud the gritty effort turned in by those five men. We held the Ravens running game in check for the most part, though I wouldn't call it one of our most dominant performances in a long time. Nevertheless, with Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel both sidelined, that was an impressive display of toughness and guts by Travis Kirschke, Chris Hoke, Aaron Smith, Nick Eason and Orpheus Roye. The Ravens had their moments in the running game, but their top two backs ultimately only finished with 105 yards on 29 carries. Good, but not at all great.
That's irrelevant though. The question is do we dare risk keeping just 5 DL moving forward? Do we take that same chance against the Jaguars? Last week we prioritized special teams, and it paid off. Patrick Bailey was money on coverage. But what if one of the myriad injuries we suffered Monday were along the line, rather than concentrated at RB? It's easier to improvise with a position like RB mid-game. We could either just keep a TE in the backfield and only pass, or Hines Ward could get a carry. Whatever. But only having four guys to rotate along the line against a Jags team that can run all over you is a more risky proposition.
Scott Paxson's name has been thrown around as a possible candidate to sub-in while Hampton heals up. If we were to decide to carry 6 DL, that's the likeliest of moves I'd imagine. But perhaps we won't even go that route, and instead hope we can survive another week with the 5 guys that played so valiantly against the Ravens on Monday Night.