In an interview with Adam Schein, Bryant McKinnie tossed gasoline on the Ravens’ OL debate that should continue to rage during the bye week. John Harbaugh then added comments regarding rotation on the offensive line.
Rotation by series is an interesting idea if it leads to some experimentation by position to find a good combination. I don’t believe it is as likely to raise the level of individual performance unless the Ravens are going to change the focus of their offense to be much more run-centric.
You don’t have to look far to find opinions on who should play where on the Ravens line. I did some searching and found advocates for all of the following:
- LT: Oher, Osemele, McKinnie, Reid
- LG: Gradkowski, Harewood, Oher, Osemele, Reid, Williams
- C: Birk, Gradkowski
- RG: Yanda
- RT: Harewood, Oher, Osemele, Reid
It’s a good sign when there is no real debate over the position of a particular lineman, but unfortunately only Yanda enjoys that status currently for the Ravens.
It’s not strictly a result of either the offense or defense, but the Ravens have just 160 offensive plays from scrimmage in the last 3 games including 52 vs. the Chiefs, 48 vs. the Cowboys, and 59 vs. the Texans (non-penalties, excluding kneels). Wherever the blame may rest, that’s a recipe for a tired and ineffective defense.
The 59 snaps versus the Texans were all competitive:
Oher: It’s difficult to score as poorly as Michael did Sunday without a sack allowed or a penalty. He blocked outside, leaving Watt a free run (Q1, 12:40) at Flacco for a QH. He allowed a total of 4.5 pressures, including 3 on the right side in 17 snaps. Of those, 1 was a true pressure (Q2, 10:02) where he gave up on his block on Mercilus. The other 2 were for allowing his opponent to bat down a pass (Barwin, Q2, 5:51 and Watt, Q3, 11:28). Scoring: 48 blocks, 5 missed, 4.5 pressures, 1 QH, 36 points (.61 per play). Even with the level of competition, this was a D.
Williams: It shouldn’t be a surprise that Harbaugh is openly discussing a replacement for Williams who was again awful at LG. He was beaten for consecutive sacks from Antonio Smith (beginning Q4, 13:53) by essentially the same fake first to the outside, then to the inside. Bobby barely touched Smith, who was able to move past with almost no upper-body effort on each play. Williams gave up on his block of Smith on Mercilus’ sack (Q1, 5:38). Had the free run by Mercilus not been offered, Smith would have had a sack and quite possibly a strip, so I gave Williams ½ charge for that sack. Scoring: 52 blocks, 2 missed, ½ pressure, 1/2 QH, 2.5 sacks, 34.5 points (.58 per play). F.
Birk: Matt continued to have some pass-blocking difficulties. He was beaten right by Mercilus on Barwin’s safety (Q1, 4:54). Barwin came untouched, but either Manning or Mercilus would also have registered the sack, so I gave Birk 1/3 charge. Crick split zone blocking between Birk and Williams for a QH (Q2, 10:14). He and Williams also split a pressure when neither was able to put a finger on the stunting Barwin (Q3, 14:14). Birk had just 1 block in level 2, but it was a big one on the TD pass to Doss. He also recovered a fumble immediately before Barwin’s safety. Scoring: 53 blocks, 3 missed, 1/2 pressure, ½ QH, 1/3 sack, 48.5 points (.82 per play). C.
Yanda: Marshal returned from consecutive off games to record his 2nd best game of the season. Watt split a double from him and Osemele (Q4, 7:13) for a pressure. His only miss came when he was pancaked and may have been party to Osemele’s injury (Q2, 14:19). He had 4 blocks in level 2, 1 pancake, and pulled successfully on all 3 attempts. Interestingly, his pull seemed to freeze Glover Quin in a position to make his interception off Mercilus’ tip (Q2, 1:13). Scoring: 57 blocks, 1 missed, ½ pressure, 56 points (.95 per play). A.
Osemele: I can only recall one other Raven that returned to play after being carted off (Tony Siragusa), but that’s exactly what Kelechi did Sunday. He returned noticeably slowed, but played well both before and after the injury. He had responsibility for Watt on the play JJ leapt for the PD that was returned by Jonathan Joseph for a TD. He had a pressure shared with Yanda (Q4, 7:13) and another where he was beaten outside by Barwin as Oher was also beaten on the other side. Kelechi had 7 pancakes in just 42 snaps including 4 in a row beginning with Smith’s 2nd sack (Q4, 13:16). Scoring: 38 blocks, 1 missed, 2 pressures, 34 points (.81 per play). B.
McKinnie: Brandon played 17 snaps in Osemele’s absence and made all of his blocks. His only miss this season was on the poor effort play vs. New England which nearly cost the Ravens the game. The NE block aside, it’s difficult to miss short-yardage run blocks since the assignments are typically clear. By contrast, his play Sunday included much more pass blocking (16 of 17 snaps) than he had done to date. Scoring: 17 blocks (1.00 per play).
Other offensive notes:
• Flacco had ATS on 19 of 47 attempts vs. the Texans (40%). With ATS he was 10/19 for 69 yards with 0/0 TD/INT. The 3.6 YPP with ATS is his worst since I began scoring it in the beginning of 2010. The longest of his 10 completions with ATS went for 10 yards (Q4, 6:30). Joe had not had less than 7.4 YPP with ATS this season, but had 5 games between 4.3 (at Jacksonville) and 5.8 in 2011.
• Against Dallas, Flacco had his best ATS result that I have scored, completing all 9 passes for 138 yards (15.3 YPP).
• Without ATS, Flacco completed 11 of 24 passes for 78 yards (50 net) with 4 sacks for 28 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs (1.8 YPP). That YPP is low, but he’s had several games worse when under pressure.
• I read that the 0-100 QBR system scored the game as the worst in the last 5 years by any QB (0.3). I believe that to be hyperbole, but even after factoring out the effect of protection, Flacco had a disturbingly bad game.
• How did the Texans mount so much pressure? It was frankly all about numbers and not deception. By my scoring method, Houston had only 1 deceptive pass rush, but they rushed 6 men on 10 occasions and 5 on 13 snaps. This was very similar to their scheme in the playoff game last season in Baltimore with 1 key difference. Last January, the Texans rushed 7 on 7 occasions, the Ravens provided ATS on 6 of those plays, and Flacco threw for 11.7 YPP and 82 of his 140 net yards. Phillips learned his lesson from the hot stove and did not rush 7 on any drop back Sunday.