LETTERS 2 TL ~ 3-0 YET STILL PLENTY OF CONCERNS

Lombardi's Way LETTERS 2 TL ~ 3-0 YET STILL PLENTY OF CONCERNS

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BREAKING DOWN THE CLEVELAND GAME
 
Tony,
 
After watching our Ravens this season it is obvious that their attitudes are much more positive. Winning will do that though but I believe that they definitely came into this season with this goal in mind anyway  — a good start.
 
Like everyone else, I am concerned with some of the play calling. I keep questioning myself by asking "What if our offense happened to be more successful if we had passed instead of run on that play?" I realize that in these instances, I am second guessing or playing the classic armchair QB like many people do. When I go over these plays again, I realize that there are some real fundamental flaws in their execution. For instance, when we went for it vs. the Browns on 4th and a long 1 (more like 2) our center, and both guards double teamed Ted Washington. Still did not budge him. This left Ogden and a TE vs. 3-4 Browns and we ran right into the teeth of the Browns Defense. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the Ravens would try to run behind Ogden but why the need to triple team anyone? Must have been a screw up. Just had to be. If we know that teams will crowd the lOS then we need to get man on man blocking not under match ourselves by leaving penetrators untouched.
 
As everyone has commented on; Throwing on 2 and 2 trying to get in FG range? Throwing across the field on the attempt? Not only a lower % pass but a higher % to maybe get intercepted (which it almost was). Then throwing another pass into the flats on a well covered back out of the backfield on a designed play. [That’s] concerning.
 
Cleveland’s coverage was very good this week. They really limited separation this week which is why McNair was forced to hold the ball so long. McNair had to make some really good throws just to get some completions. Our route running left something to be desired and needs to be rectified this week.  In regards to pass protection, Our OL has been doing a surprisingly good job this year. I cannot understand why fans say that they have not upgraded as their performance in this respect has improved. McNair has been known throughout his career as a QB that sometimes holds the ball too long which is another reason why sacks and injuries are no stranger to him. I’d like to know how we fare in sacks allowed. I’d wager that we are somewhere in the middle or above. Good for us.  
 
Our tackles will have some trouble with SD ends and Merriman. As a result of SD pressure, Pashos should be good for at least 2 penalties this week for lining up in the backfield or false start. Against this pressure, I would hope to see Anderson or Musa catching some balls out of the backfield and more screens. Heck, any screens! Musa is way too athletic to not throw screens to.
 
Our D will give up the big play from time to time.  Frye’s ball to Edwards was right on the money as Edwards had no need to adjust to it. Not much one can do against this especially as a CB that is expecting over the top help from a Rookie safety.
 
I seem to remember that during our SB year our Defense got torched by JAX the second game of the season at home. As the year progressed we got some shutouts and broke the points record. Things are and need to stay much more positive right now as it is the key to our success.
 
Paul Day, Virginia
 
Paul,
 
As always you’ve served up some solid insight.  The run on fourth and 2 was ridiculous.  The Ravens offensive line isn’t good enough to be so predictable and it is my opinion that the predictability puts the Ravens less than stellar athletic line at a distinct disadvantage.  Not only do they run when a run is expected, they also dictate their play calling with their personnel packages and they seldom mix up the snap count.  I think that takes away some of the offensive advantage and it leads to things like Pashos trying to cheat a bit in his stance to gain an edge on D-lineman opposite him.
 
On that sequence that left the Ravens with a second and two at the Cleveland 35, while I concur that the throw across McNair’s body rolling left was ill advised, I think the toss to Mughelli was a throw away.  If you noticed at the top of the picture, Mason was streaking down the sideline.  I think the Ravens were trying to catch the Browns napping.  They didn’t.  I believe Mason was the primary.
 
I also agree that the offensive line hasn’t been as bad as many think.  Mix up the plays, mix up the snap count, spread the field a bit and I think you remove much of the deck that is stacked against Chris Foerster’s unit.  As for the sack total, the Ravens have allowed 5 sacks this season.  Only 8 teams have given up fewer sacks and two of those 8 have only played 2 games so far.  McNair is sacked once every twenty passes he throws.
 
The Ravens will certainly have to be wary of Shawne Merriman.  He had 3 sacks against the Raiders but in the 2 games he’s played, he’s had only 4 tackles that weren’t sacks.  Perhaps the Ravens will run at him and keep him honest with some screens or swing passes to Merriman’s side.  The more they can give him to think about, that might force him to hesitate just enough to keep him off McNair’s back.  And you are spot on with your observation about McNair holding the ball longer than other QB’s.  That is his M.O. and it has a lot to do with his history of injuries.
 
The long pass to Edwards, hey…sometimes you just get beat when your opponent executes perfectly.  Although I have to admit, I thought Rolle was in man coverage and never backed off Edwards or hesitated to the point where he was expecting the safety to roll over (no pun intended).  If you recall, that was a first down play after a change of possession and I think they caught the Ravens in the wrong D.
 
There’s much to be thankful for so far this campaign and I have a gut feeling that things are only going to get better.
 
Rave on,
 
TL
 
HOLY SMOKES BATMAN!
 
TL,
 
Holy Smokes!  You know I don’t disagree with you guys often, but Aaron is totally off the mark in his opening sentence.  “Charlie Frye was masterful and poised, darting precise spirals into confined areas despite being constantly battered by the Baltimore Ravens’ fierce pass rush. “    Frye stood in there and took some real hits from great rushing which he deserves credit for, but “into confined areas”? 
 
The Ravens secondary in the first half was more embarrassing than I have ever seen any secondary in any game.  Frye was being chased a LOBBED a dead pigeon that appeared to go as high as it did far and we not only didn’t come close to an interception, we didn’t any hit the guy who caught it!  I can QB if we are going to let those throws get through.
 
For the record the O stunk up the first half pretty badly too!
 
The second half was great to watch and we recovered fairly well.
 
Sean in Bel Air
 
Sean,
 
I would agree with you that at times the Browns receivers were wide open and that floating pass from Frye that was completed in the second quarter after he was hit by Trevor Pryce was a bit of an embarrassment.  But there were times when Frye delivered the ball in tight spots, such as the TD pass to Edwards.  If you look at the replay, Rolle nearly tipped that ball.  And for Frye to deliver such a performance under great duress most of the afternoon is certainly commendable.
 
I also agree that the offense was pretty lame in the first half.  It looked a lot like last year and the year before.  At the end of the day, much like the pitcher that didn’t have his good stuff but won, the Ravens do what good teams must – win the games you aren’t supposed to win.
 
And they did!
 
Bring on the Chargers,
 
TL
 
THE RAVENS WILL LOSE…I GUARANTEE IT…IF…
 
TL,
 
All I can say is they deserved to LOSE big time today because they played like they didn’t have a clue but once again the other team got sloppy and turned the ball over at the wrong time and with Matt’s golden leg, we pulled it out. McAlister doesn’t make that interception, game over.  The Browns played well enough to win and should have. Vacation is over boys, you play like that the next two games and you lose – guaranteed!
 
Kelley Brown, Halethorpe
 
Kelley,
 
All I can say is that’s why you have to play all 60 minutes.  The Ravens did and they pulled one out that they shouldn’t have.  It’s nice to win one when you don’t bring your “A” game.  But as you suggest, they better over the course of the next 3 weeks.  I like them this Sunday in a predictably low scoring slugfest.
 
Let’s get ready to rumble,
 
TL
 
RAVENS ARE KIDDING THEMSELVES!
 
TL,
 
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That’s usually good advice. According to an article in today’s Sun, the Ravens’ run offense is ranked 16th in the league. This on a team that for years has characterized itself as a run oriented rather than a pass oriented offense. This is also against 3 teams without a win between them.
 
I don’t know where the problem lies. It could be due to a decline in Jamal’s ability. It could be due to miserable run blocking by the O line to go along with their miserable pass blocking. It could be due to predictable, unimaginative play calling. It could be due to all the above.
 
Our schedule gets a lot tougher from here on. Without a more effective running game, it’s hard to imagine winning a lot of close games against tougher competition. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I say it’s time to fix it right now before San Diego comes to town.
 
Steve From Lutherville
 
Steve,
 
This season appears to be a series of building blocks and with each week that the Ravens can survive with a win while the Ravens offense gels, the more dangerous the Ravens will be later in the season.  As uninspiring as the offense was against the Browns, I do believe they are moving in the right direction but unfortunately the fix won’t be a sudden one.  I think the parts are there and a more imaginative offense with more productivity on first down will get the Ravens offense going in the right direction.  Each of the next three games is winnable but the offense needs to improve incrementally each week.
 
Brick by brick,
 
TL
 
CBS = CRUMBY BROADCASTING STATION
 
TL,
 
Great job on report card!  Thank you for pointing out the terrible TV coverage of the game.  The announcer and commentator were wretched.  How many times did Gus Johnson call Terrell Suggs, Lee Suggs? 
 
The worst thing about it is that you can’t "turn down the sound" and listen to the much more desirable radio broadcast of the game.  The radio and TV broadcasts are not synchronized, with one being slightly ahead of the other.
 
Also, why can’t I get the Ravens game broadcasted in widescreen HD?  I have an expensive widescreen HD television.  It seems like every game looks awesome except for the regional broadcast of the Ravens’ game.  The ESPN and national TV games look incredible.  So, not only is the coverage of the game lame, the local game broadcast isn’t even in HD. 
 
Maybe you can mention some of this in one of your upcoming articles.  I wonder if anyone else has similar thoughts.
 
Once again, thanks for the report card and all the other stuff on Ravens24x7.com (…with all due respect, I will always think of your site as Ravens24x7.com).
 
Thanks again…
 
Paul Geppi
 
Paul,
 
Thanks for the props on the report card.  Each week I’ll touch down on something that stands out during the game outside of the lines.  It might be praise or criticism of the scoreboard operator or PA announcer at The Vault or it might be deserved criticism of a pair of below average announcers like Johnson and Steve Tasker.  (NOTE: They are assigned to the Miami @ Houston game this week so what does that tell you?  More chicken salad?)
 
You aren’t alone in your broadcasting frustrations.  The best way to cure it is to have the Ravens continue to win and they’ll get the higher profile games and the HD broadcasts.
 
As for Ravens24x7.com, the name and the site will always hold a special place in my world.  It’s ok with me if you continue to see us that way, but be sure to bookmark us under www.profootball24x7.com.
 
Keep on keeping on,
 
TL
 
WE NEED SOME PROTECTION
 
Tony,
 
I can’t help it. Again this week I find myself fixated on the Ravens offensive line. Just a quick observation and question: I noticed that out of the shotgun Mike Flynn seems to wind up like a catapult. In the Browns game his technique was tipping-off the snap to the defense, so at least one Browns pass rusher was taking advantage of it on every shotgun snap. Did you notice this, and is it as big a deal as it appeared to me? I can only imagine that Shawne Merriman doesn’t need any extra help this week.
 
Steve, Baltimore
 
Steve,
 
On the road, snap counts often put the visiting team at a disadvantage.  Sunday, the Ravens often used a silent snap queued up by the leg lift of Steve McNair.  I don’t think Flynn’s coiling up would change or add to the disadvantage.
 
Shawne Merriman will present some problems for the Ravens and I expect Daniel Wilcox to chip away at Merriman like a sculptor takes to a block of marble.
 
Chipping away, the moments that make up a dull day,
 
TL

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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