The Ravens dressed 8 OLs for Sunday’s game and they all saw action. That’s generally a sign of either a blowout or injuries (nagging or new). Flacco was under significant pressure despite a number of set and chip blocking assignments for the eligible receivers. In addition, the Ravens walking wounded had a hard time getting their typical amount of run blocking push which caused the vast majority of Rice and McGahee’s runs to be stopped near the line. Finally, Trent Cole had a big game against the Ravens LT’s. As you know, however, the mediocre OL performance was complemented by a special defensive effort as the Ravens pounded the Eagles 36-7.
Terry: It was a forgettable game for Terry and not just because of the concussion. He played only 13 non-penalty snaps (plus 1 on which he was called for holding) and looked overmatched by Cole. While he was removed due to the concussion, he did not look mobile while in and I’d have to guess his wheels were still bothering him. Scoring: 10/13 blocks, 2 missed, 1 penetration, 1 holding penalty, 2 points (.15 per play)
Gaither: Aside from the reemergence of Ed Reed, the Ravens biggest development was probably the fact that Gaither was healthy enough to take the field. He certainly was nowhere near the player he had been before the injury, but he was blocking with both arms Sunday. While he got more push than against the Giants, he essentially used his size and the players next to him to get in the way, rather than bulldozing his man as he is capable when healthy. The sack assigned to him (Q2, 9:39) was a tough one, since it took about 6 seconds to develop, but he also got away with a hold (Q2, 6:58). He made a single level 2 block. It looked to me that this was a game where the coaching staff would have liked to have held him out (as with McGahee a few weeks ago), but he was pressed into service. Slaughter replaced him for the final 2 series (actually 1 series + 3 kneels). Scoring: 43/48 blocks, 4 missed, 1 sack allowed, 37 points (.77 per play).
Slaughter: Slaughter entered late (Q4, 6:11) playing out the garbage time for Gaither. He looked very good, pancaking his opponent on the first 2 of his 5 real plays. It’s not obvious to me how the Ravens will adjust their actives for the Bengals, but it wouldn’t shock me if Slaughter is again active and the Ravens try to get Gaither a full week of rest. Scoring 5/5 (1.00 per play).
Grubbs: Ben played his best game since the opener. He registered 9 level 2 blocks and found a block or pass lane on all 4 of his pulling assignments. He’s not a road grader yet. This should improve (initially) with time in the league as he learns how to position himself vs. the combination of speed and size NFL opponents offer. He is, however, a high-effort guard with good mobility, particularly for his size. The upside is apparent, and the Ravens desperately need him to step forward in the remaining games this season. It’s a little unfair to put this on a 2nd-year player, but his next 5-9 games may well be the most important of his entire career. Cal Ripken never got another shot at a title after his 2nd season, and the combination of a talented team and a wide open conference is not frequent. Grubbs missed just 6 plays when he left with an apparent eye injury. He was also called upon to play DT for 1 defensive snap (Reed’s 108-yard INT return). Scoring: 57/60 blocks, 57 points (.95 per play)
Brown: It was Brown’s first poor game in several weeks. He allowed a QH, a penetration, and missed several more blocks. He made only 2 blocks in level 2, an indication both that the DT’s effectively handled him. He did not come out looking too bad from a scoring perspective, but he can and has played much better. Scoring 59/66 blocks, 1 QH, 1 penetration, 54 points (.82 per play).
Chester: He had great difficulty in both pass and run blocking, but avoided any penalties this week. Chester made 3 level 2 blocks, and found a block on just 5 of 8 pull attempts (he also allowed a penetration while pulling). He made his block of the day with his back (Q3, 4:47) as he was turned sideways along the LoS and pushed backwards to keep the pursuit from catching Rice. Scoring: 58/66 blocks, 4 missed, 2.5 penetrations (1 shared), 1 QH, 50 points (.76 per play).
Hale: He replaced Grubbs for 6 plays and made 5 of 6 blocks (.83 per play). While this is a little like Jimmy Carter saying “I’m not going to talk about Chappaquiddick” (during the 1976 primaries), I’m going to refrain from using further Lord of the Rings metaphors for Hale.
Anderson: It was good to see Anderson able to play a full game. It wasn’t one of his best efforts, but the Ravens needed someone with experience to hold down RT as the Ravens used their other 3 active pure tackles on the left side. He is charged with the sack to Abiamiri (Q2, 10:19). He made 2 blocks in level 2, which I might have guessed would take him half a season. Scoring: 59/66, 5 missed, .5 penetration, 1 sack allowed, 52 points (.79 points per play).
· A good example of a successful max protect play came at Q3, 1:39. The Ravens ran unbalanced left and only Clayton and Mason were in the pattern with the other eligibles in to block. Flacco threw a dart to Clayton who came back for a ball that might have been picked had he not. It was a good play on both ends, but that and the throw to Mason (in the midst of 5 defenders) at Pittsburgh are the 2 that stick in my mind where the strength of Flacco’s arm allowed for success with a max protect package.