For the 2nd consecutive season, the Ravens flexed their depth in the secondary. The results were far from those of 2011, but the season was more rewarding.
At safety, Pollard and Reed were every-down fixtures, but the Ravens drafted core special teamer Christian Thompson in the 4th round and acquired backups James Ihedigbo and Sean Considine. Omar Brown forced his way onto the practice squad and later the roster with an uncanny knack for finding the football in the preseason.
The Ravens started the season as strong as virtually any team in the NFL at Cornerback. Let’s set the stage:
- Lardarius Webb was the best CB in football in 2011 (including the postseason).
- Cary Williams had played effectively in the 2nd half and was headed to a contract year, a good combination.
- Jimmy Smith also played well in the 2nd half of 2011 after being injured on the kickoff of his first NFL game.
- Chykie Brown, a 5th round section in 2011, lost his roster spot to Danny Gorrer in camp, but made it through the season on the practice squad and eventually was elevated to the 53-man roster.
- Asa Jackson was drafted to provide a kick/punt return backup in addition to more depth at corner.
- Corey Graham was signed as a core special-teams player who did not figure to see time on defense.
- The Ravens were so satisfied with their depth they cut Danny Gorrer, who had been terrific in limited duty in 2011.
The Ravens appeared loaded in the secondary.
Unlike 2011 (but very much like almost every other year), the general trend of changes in the secondary was negative as the season wore on. The story of the secondary wasn’t material for a Hollywood script this season, but the results were good enough to play a role in bringing the Lombardi back to Baltimore.
Each player has 3 grades:
- The 2012 Play grade is a representation of how well he played vs. his positional peers last season. It is not a representation of value relative to salary.
- The Value grade is a representation of the player’s contribution relative to 2012 salary. Great players, at mid career (after signing their first FA contract), will almost never be graded an A in this category since they are typically paid the market price for their services. It’s not a slap in the face to be graded a C here, but the best front offices will have many more As and Bs than Ds and Fs because they consistently uncover value in the draft and sign bargain free agents. A player who does not miss time due to injury, but otherwise performs exactly as might be expected by his contract would be graded a B-. In the case of linebackers and secondary, this grade includes consideration for their special teams contributions.
- The Developmental grade is an indication of how much the player outplayed expectation. The primary reason to expect growth (or decline) is age, but injuries (particularly changes to prospective durability), leadership, position changes, etc. were all lumped in this category. Even a 35-year-old gets a developmental grade.
Those of you who visit PFF (a site I highly recommend) or get snap counts from the Gamebook will notice the snap totals I report are lower because they don’t include penalties, uncontested plays (spikes or kneels), or plays where the offense lines up in a kick formation that end in a run or pass.
The 2012 Ravens had 1390 such defensive snaps as a unit in 20 games (69.5 per game). Except where noted, all playing time information includes both regular season and postseason snaps.
Individual Player Comments