FILMSTUDY: New Personnel Combinations a Harbinger for 2008?

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: New Personnel Combinations a Harbinger for 2008?

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We could talk about you know what, but it’s not going to change a thing.  Let’s instead focus on the defensive side of the ball, where the Ravens used some personnel combinations for the first time.  While the Ravens put up a game effort, the defense made a number of changes to get playing time for their young core of talent.  First the numbers (all of which exclude kneels and the botched field goal, as usual):
 
Vs. the Rush
32 plays, 121 yards, 3.8 YPC
Best:  Bannan 14/41, 2.9
Worst:  Pryce 9/41, 4.6, Ngata 26/106, 4.1
 
Vs. the Pass
40 plays, 263 yards, 6.6 YPP
Best:  Bannan 9/10, 1.1, Martin 20/96, 4.8
Worst:  Edwards 10/124, 12.4, Gregg 22/183, 8.3
 
Overall
72 plays, 384 yrds,5.3 YPPA
Best:  Bannan 23/51, 2.2
Worst:  Edwards 27/180, 6.7
 
By number of Defensive Backs
3:  2 plays, 2 yards (the 2 TD’s on 1st and goal at the 1)
4:  47/282, 6.0 YPPA, 1 turnover, 1 sack
5:  15/58, 3.9 YPPA
6:  8/42, 5.3, 1 TO, 1 sack
 
The stats by number of pass rushers will have to wait until Friday.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
 
Notes:
 
·          The Ravens may have had another 10-man play.  This was a case where I could not verify that Ivy was on the field although he may have been deep to the offensive right side (ORS).  The play occurred on 3rd and 7 on the Browns first possession.  Barnes came in as an extra pass rusher, replacing Johnson.  Ivy could not be seen by any camera angle, including an initial view from the Ravens end zone.  The Browns lined up 4 wide, 2 well wide on the left and 2 fairly close to the right.  Landry had press coverage on the ORS slot (Winslow) but rushed the QB.  McAlister had soft coverage on the outside ORS.  Martin is the lone corner on the OLS, covering both Jurevicius and Edwards, but at the snap, Suggs and Scott both dropped into coverage to the OLS and Reed can be seen streaking in as the ball is thrown complete to Jurevicius.  There is no sign of Ivy, but McAlister appears to make a hand signal to a player behind him (I have to assume that was Reed).  In any case, it would be odd for Ivy to have left the field when he does not sit out any plays these days (he is removed when the Ravens play their 3-safety goal line secondary), but he has lined up in camera view on every other play this season.  For statistical purposes, I have recorded Ivy as in for the play, but I honestly believe the Ravens played with 10. 
 
·          The 50-yard Anderson to Jurevicius pass play (last play of the 1st quarter) was very odd in that the pass was completed just 8 yards from the line of scrimmage with 42 yards of YAC.  In 2006, the Ravens allowed 20 pass plays of 30+ yards, but not a single 1 was completed less than 15 yards from the LoS (Steve Smith had a catch 15 yards from the LoS with 16 yards of YAC in week 6).  I’d say the Ravens ability to defend such plays is a function of strong LB’s, safeties that are typically positioned well, and Ray Lewis’ ability to sniff out a screen pass a mile away.  If you are wondering who was on the field, it was the base starting unit for the game, which now includes Ivy and Edwards.
 
·          The Ravens used an assortment of coverage schemes to jam the Browns outside receivers, particularly Braylon Edwards.  Scott and Suggs both drew this duty at times.  Techniques such as this might have been used occasionally in 2006, but they are much more common this season with the backup secondary members seeing a lot of snaps and the effectiveness of the pass rush is impacted.
 
·          Derrick Martin had a good game in the nickel.  He was only picked on 1 time for a 10-yard gain, and as you can see above, the Ravens allowed just 3.7 YPPA with 5 DB’s.
 
·          Jamaine Winborne saw his first significant action, playing 9 snaps, including 2 in the Ravens goal line defense.  He did not record a defensive statistic of any sort.
 
·          Ronnie Prude, meanwhile, had a significant reduction in playing time.  After seeing 62 snaps vs. Cincinnati, including 5 before Ivy was hurt, Prude saw the field for just 2 defensive snaps this week.  Pittman was also active, but did not see any action on the defensive side of the ball (he did play special teams).
 
·          The Ravens made several thus far unseen changes to get Antwan Barnes playing time.  He replaced Johnson 3 times and Scott 4 times.  Prior to the Cincy game, Johnson had played every play the entire season, and Scott had missed just 1 play in the opener.  It’s good to see the Ravens looking forward and Barnes had a good game, recording his first NFL tackle (or stat of any type, for that matter) on defense in what is now 94 career snaps.  Barnes also hit Anderson as he threw complete to Edwards on the play immediately before the play.  For whatever reason, the keeper of the Gamebook did not see his way clear to record a QH on the play.  What’s astounding to me is the Ravens’ willingness to have Barnes replace Scott for the last 2 defensive plays in a game against such a bitter divisional rival.
 
·          Ray Lewis had his best game in a very long time, registering 16 tackles (12 solo), a PD, the interception he ran back for a TD, and a fumble recovery.  He’s again near the top of the league in tackles and despite all the drama with the “torn” triceps in week 1, he has missed just 1 play all year (Palmer’s 39-yard TD pass in the opener).  In my opinion this game moved him from dark horse to likely Pro Bowl selection.
 
·          How long since Lewis has had a game this dominant?  I’d say it was 10/6/02 at Cleveland in the Sunday night game in which he was hurt.  That night he had a pick, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a PD, and 4 tackles (the **cough** BS media guide **cough** total was 11 tackles).  Lewis’ play in week 4 and 5 of that season represent the highest point in a great career.  He willed the Ravens to wins in those 2 nationally televised games and 1st place at 2-2.  His cheerleading from the sideline the remainder of that year made the Ravens fun to watch despite the 7-9 record.  On that 2002 Sunday night in Cleveland, you may recall he was injured with 14 minutes left in the 3rd quarter while recovering a fumble he had just forced.  With Lewis’ takeaway, the Ravens drove 56 yards on 3 plays to take a 20-0 lead.  They would hold on to win 26-21.  Here’s wishing he has 2 or 3 more good years.  However, if it is determined that my current remaining wish total is reviewable, and further review irrefutably indicates that I have only 1 remaining wish, I’d rather use it on an UDFA shut down corner to arrive in a future year of my choosing. 

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Ken McKusick

About Ken McKusick

Known as “Filmstudy” from his handle on area message boards, Ken is a lifelong Baltimorean and rabid fan of Baltimore sports. He grew up within walking distance of Memorial Stadium and attended all but a handful of Orioles games from 1979 through 2001. He got his start in sports modeling with baseball in the mid 1980’s. He began writing about the Ravens in 2006 and maintains a library of video for every game the team has played. He’s a graduate of Syracuse with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Math who recently retired from his actuarial career to pursue his passion as a football analyst full time. If you have math or modeling questions related to sports or gambling, Ken is always interested in hearing new problems or ideas. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @filmstudyravens. More from Ken McKusick

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