Eric Weddle: Whether offense likes it or not, Ravens going to win with D

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Eric Weddle was asked what the Baltimore Ravens' offense thinks about the perception that the defense will pave the way for wins.

Much like the way he plays safety, Weddle didn't hold back in giving this blunt answer.

"I believe that our team doesn’t have an ego," Weddle said. "We want to win; we’re tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. It irks me every day that I didn’t have a chance in the playoffs. That’s not me, it’s not what I’m about. Even if [the offense does] have a problem, I don’t care if they have a problem. It’s the way we’re going to win."

Baltimore's defense is expected to be among the best in the NFL, if not the top one. The Ravens loaded up on that side of the ball this offseason, retaining defensive tackle Brandon Williams, signing safety Tony Jefferson and using their top four draft picks on defensive players.

This investment was immediately apparent in the preseason. The Ravens allowed 32 points in four games, including none by the starting defense.

Baltimore's offense, meanwhile, has been an ongoing work in progress. Quarterback Joe Flacco didn't take a snap in the preseason because of a back injury. Four of Flacco's top six targets from a year ago are gone, including Steve Smith Sr. and Dennis Pitta. Starting running back Terrance West is a career 3.9-yard-per-carry runner. And the offensive line features three new starters.

"Play great on defense, play unbelievable special teams, and play solid on offense -- that’s going to be the secret for us to win," Weddle said. "Don’t turn the ball over, create turnovers, play sound defense, no big plays. Whoever we’re playing against, it doesn’t matter."

If the defense has to carry the offense this season, it wouldn't be the first time that's happened in Baltimore. Dominating defenses have long defined this franchise and a record-setting one delivered the Ravens' first Lombardi Trophy in 2000.

"The history of the Ravens shows that you play great defense, you run the ball, you don’t turn the ball over, you win, and you’ll have a chance at the Super Bowl," Weddle said. "We’re going to show that and see where it takes us. I think it’ll be great."

It was actually Baltimore's defense that let down the Ravens at the end of the season. The Ravens would've been in control of the AFC North if their defense stopped Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers on a last-minute drive in a 31-27 loss to their AFC North rival on Christmas night.

Now, the Ravens are looking to avoid missing out on the playoffs for three straight years. That would be the team's longest drought since it failed to reach the postseason in its first four seasons of existence (1996-99).

Do the players feel any more heightened pressure entering this season?

“It is business as usual," Williams said. "When we come in here, we come here to grind. We know our mission, we know our goals, and we are here every day in the classroom or out here at practice trying to strive for them every day."

Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace has some added motivation for the Ravens to return to the postseason.

"Me, personally, I need that feeling again to be back out there in the playoffs and getting some extra money. We need those checks," Wallace said. "When you have a family to feed … Hopefully, we can get those Super Bowl checks and make it all the way. But, when you don’t go to the playoffs, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Whether it is one year removed or two years removed, it doesn’t matter. Just not going, in general, the season before, hurts. Everybody knows what it is. We are focused."