Anonymous Elvis – Why Dumervil isn’t as great as you think

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Russell Street Report’s own Derek Arnold has been kind enough to point out that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the Elvis Dumervil signing. So, before I tell you all exactly why I’m not a big fan, I’ll give you my positive spin on the move. Dumervil has put up impressive numbers throughout his career in Denver. Over at Pro Football Focus we have credited the Ravens’ newest pass rushing option with 48 sacks since 2008 – impressive considering he missed all of 2010, giving him an average of 12 sacks per year since we began grading and recording stats.

It’s not even that those pass rushing numbers are misleading either, with him putting up impressive stats in terms of quarterback hits and hurries too. And yet, despite all that, I wasn’t, and am still not, ready to crown this as a great “Ozzie being Ozzie” signing. No sooner had news broke of the move to bring in Dumervil than my Twitter feed was filled with #InOzzieWeTrust. Now, anyone who follows me knows just how much I hate that hash tag. Despite believing that Newsome is at least one of, if not THE, best General Managers in football, it continues to grind my gears that he is granted the sort of near infallibility in Baltimore normally reserved only for the Pope. Yes everyone, Ozzie is awesome, but he makes mistakes and, in my opinion, this is one of them.

Those pass rushing numbers by Dumervil are what define him as an “elite” pass rusher in the NFL. But dig a little deeper into those numbers and a pattern emerges. In the four seasons he has played in since 2008, he has recorded two total pressures (sacks, hits or hurries) or fewer in 25 games – an average of over six games per season. Think about that for a second and consider this: The guy the Ravens just signed is likely to give the team a genuine pass rush threat in just 10 regular season games this season.

So why is he so up and down? Does he struggle against better competition, does he just have too many games where he isn’t at the level he needs to be? I don’t have the answer to that, all I know is that when you dig into those raw season total stats (which are mighty impressive as numbers on their own) there are just far too many occasions where Dumervil is anonymous as a pass rusher. Take 2012 into consideration for example, and look at his games against the Oakland Raiders and you’ll see exactly what I find so frustrating about him. In the first meeting between the two teams, in Denver, Dumervil put up nine total pressures, including two sacks. When the teams met again in Week 14? Nothing.

One argument I saw for why this is a great move is that pairing him with a pass rusher like Terrell Suggs will make Dumervil better. I could see the point there, were it not for the fact that the Broncos had one of the best pass rushing performances of all time opposite him in 2012. Von Miller registered 20 sacks, 16 hits and 57 hurries through the regular season and playoffs last season. Miller had 93 total pressures, a full 31 pressures more than Dumervil. He had an elite pass rusher opposite him, a bigger threat than Suggs if we’re being honest, and yet the same inconsistent performances were found.

Add to that the fact that Dumervil has never been known for his prowess against the run, and certainly not when it comes to setting the edge on the outside, and I just can’t buy this move as anything more than solid. I fully expect to hear from plenty of people every time he puts up the type of amazing pass rushing performance he’s capable of. But just remember, on the six or so occasions where you find yourself wondering just where exactly Elvis Dumervil has been all day, this is the player the Ravens signed – frustratingly inconsistent and, at times, borderline anonymous.

39 Raves on “Anonymous Elvis – Why Dumervil isn’t as great as you think

  1. NC Raven on said:

    Those 6 games though… what were the circumstances? For example, Suggs was quiet in the Super Bowl due to the defensive game plan. Other times you might see a pass rusher quiet on days his team trails and the opponent runs often. Sacks and pressures are a function of teams having to run slow developing pass plays. Some QBs like Brady and Manning don’t run a lot of those, so in weeks where you face them you aren’t going to see much statistically from a pass rusher. Then figure the occasional stud tackle, or well designed and executed offensive game plan that neutralizes a guy. I can certainly understand why there would be those 6 games, just as I can see why a top WR like Calvin Johnson would have 6 games under 100 yards every year, etc. So the question is, looking even DEEPER at those #’s, can you identify whether the cause of the low #’s was some lack of quality by Dumervil, or other cirucmstances conspiring to keep his stats down?

    • bogeyroy on said:

      Ditto NC Raven…I was going to write almost the same comments as you. Mr. McGuinness…I am not saying you are wrong, but please watch the film and check out the game situations before posting something like this. Again, you could be correct, but from your article, we just can’t tell !!!

    • Melvin on said:

      NC hit the nail on the head.

      besides, Even if Dumerville is ‘absent’ for 6 games, he’s still an upgrade over Kruger (who had limited success without Suggs) and we got him for cheaper…

  2. True on said:

    I was thinking the same sort of thing. Denver had the easiest schedule I’ve ever seen last year. Their division is Oakland, San Diego, and Kansas City. That’s six really easy games a year as long as you have Peyton. Then they went up against Carolina, Cleveland, Cincinatti was OK this year, the Saints were really hobbled, and so were the Ravens. They faced the Bucs and Pittsburgh. The games they lost were to the Falcons, Patriots, and the Texans. So, not only is Dumervil a little over-rated, the whole Denver team is. But it doesn’t matter. All of this statistical and common sense crap doesn’t matter NOW. When it starts coming true in the regular season…OK. But don’t go throwing all of our players under the bus until they start throwing themselves under the bus. I hope Dumervil flourishes with the rest of that defensive front we have. It’s really possible that if we draft well and we have a great defensive game plan every game that we’ll have the #1 defense.
    So all’s I got to say is…I concur.

  3. Michael T. on said:

    Was Miller available this off season to be sign? If so, why didn’t OZZIE bring HIM to the castle. Dumerville was the best available FA.
    Following your logic here, Flacco wasn’t the best to be signed either. But I wouldn’t want anyone else under center for the Ravens.
    Please step away from the drivers seat, you are not the best available to be driving the bus.

  4. Derek ArnoldDerek Arnold on said:

    How do you like it compared to the alternatives though, Gordon? Meaning where would you rank signing Dumervil to the contract they did among the other options – call them: 1. Re-signing Kruger at the price the Browns paid; 2. Signing Osi Umenyiora at the Falcons’ price; 3. Signing Dwight Freeney, John Abraham, or James Harrison; 4. Leaving Courtney Upshaw in on passing downs.

    Even with the evidence you presented, I have a hard time agreeing with you that this is a “mistake” by Ozzie, when compared to the alternatives.

    • bogeyroy on said:

      Not to mention that the Ravens signed Dumervil, Canty and Spears for less money than Kruger got. I believe those three players fit this team very well…I like Kruger, but he and Ellerbie both were overpaid.

  5. ColV on said:

    Just started reading this site last year. You guys that post comments are the best thought out post I’ve seen. The other sites such as the NFL and Team Stream comments are so immature and not looking at the bigger picture of what’s going on in the NFL. Commenters are so self centered on their own teams they bash other teams fans without taking in the full operational picture of what the author of the article said and comments that follow. Thanks

  6. John on said:

    Remember that 2012 was Dumerville’s first season in a 4-3 defense. He recorded much higher numbers the prior years playing in a 3-4. The Ravens employ the 3-4.

  7. Bill on said:

    Without more analysis, it appears that you had a conclusion then found facts to support it. No discussion of playing in the Ravens hybrid front versus a pure 4-3. Also, it is worth mentioning that Dumervil largely had to go against LTs while Miller went against RTs. You also have not compared Dumervil’s consistency versus other pass rushers. While you may very well be correct, you need better support for your argument.

  8. Dot on said:

    Isn’t it kind of unfair to compare Dumerville and Miller though? Dumerville was playing DE most of the year, a position which he is not really dominant at and I believe he was playing the Run-Side of the offensive line, while Miller was almost an OLB most of the year on the blind side correct? I think if Dumerville plays OLB on our Defense those 6 games per year you mentioned will be minimized.

  9. Matt on said:

    Dumervil was also playing all three downs in Denver and he isn’t exactly being paid suggs type money. He makes 5 million a year unless he hits 12 sacks and hits his incentives it’s a great signing. I expect upshaw to play running downs and dumervil to play less running snaps and be fresher which will cause him to be even more successful

    • Tucker: M&T Sec 527 on said:

      Am hoping he is close to a 3 down player w/ the Ravens. That alone would bring more value than Kruger, even at last year’s salary. Opposing offenses can’t double team everyone – sooner or later somerbody is getting to the QB (out of some combo of Ngata, Jones, Suggs, Canty, Spears, Upshaw, McPhee). It’s a team game. Makes no difference to me which guy gets the stat – just go git it!

  10. Dev Panchwagh on said:

    I think you contradict yourself in this article. On one hand, you say the move is no more than “solid.” On the other, you say, “Yes everyone, Ozzie is awesome, but he makes mistakes and, in my opinion, this is one of them.”

    So which one is it? Solid or a mistake?

    If you’re saying it is a flat out mistake, I can’t buy that at all. The price alone makes this signing a no lose proposition for the Ravens. He is averaging $7M a year which is terrific for any high-level pass rusher. Also, the fact that he wasn’t even supposed to be available on the open market is something else to consider. The Ravens got an unexpected gift under the Christmas tree, so to speak.

    It might not end up being more than a “solid” move but it’s not a mistake.

  11. jai on said:

    The idea that this signing isn’t a winfall is silly. More important than Dummerville’s numbers is his ability. Put on the tape. The guy has explosive game. And, I’m willing to bet he’s better with The Ravens than he ever was with the broncos. He is now on a better team than he’s ever been on as a pro. (yes, better than last year’s broncos; don’t get the presence of a great QB in a garbage division twisted).

  12. DarthSizzle55 on said:

    Dumerville may not even get pressure but when you watch film he moves the pocket. Miller was better a lot because Dumerville collapsed the pocket or moved it to Miller.

    • IrieMon on said:

      Touche’! This signing is alot more than solid! When he does move the pocket opposing QB’s will be staring at the likes of Ngata, Suggs, Canty, Spears, Jones, Mcphee and even Upshaw. I can hear Big Ben’s bones rattling in fear already … not to mention the way those bones will be rattling when we play the Squeelers! Dumerville will PLAY LIKE A RAVEN and that will equal great things for all the guys up front.

  13. patrick on said:

    In defending your thesis that Dumervil is overrated you cite one statistic: Dumervil generating two or fewer pressures in an average of 6 games per year. Is this bad? How does it compare to other elite pass rushers? I recall a criticism being leveled at Suggs in his DPOY year that out of his 14 sacks, 9 were compiled in 3 games, meaning that in 13 games, he registered only 5 sacks. Don’t sacks and pressures tend to come in bunches?

  14. Fatts on said:

    Post Doom numbers as a 34 olb since that’s the position he will be playing for the Ravens and not the numbers where he played DE for the Broncos so it fits your claim. A 34 Olb does more than a 43 DE which is why his numbers dropped.

  15. Gordon McGuinness on said:

    Plenty of points to get here so I’ll start by saying thanks for reading the article and taking the time to responding – think this is the biggest response I’ve had to a blog entry here at RSR.

    1 – Circumstances aren’t something that I’m dealing with. You can’t grade a defensive gameplan unless you’re sitting in on a team meeting or talking directly to someone in the know. I don’t have that kind of information, and there’s no point trying to act like I do. All I can deal with is the facts I have available to me and, based on the numbers and watching games back, I didn’t feel that Dumervil represented any kind of consistent pass rushing threat.

    2 – I’m not throwing any player ‘under the bus’. Plenty of people are hailing this as a tremendous signing and, in my opinion, that’s just not the case. If you read back on my other blog entries, you’ll see that there is plenty of times where I’m praising players.

    3 – I didn’t say that the Ravens should have brought in Miller. I pointed out that Dumervil was playing opposite an elite pass rusher in Miller and was still pretty inconsistent.

    4 – Dumervil may have been the best option available, but being the best available doesn’t always mean that it’s the right thing to do. I was being harsh when I said that the move was a “mistake”, though that was more a dig at those who seem to think that Ozzie doesn’t make mistakes, but I don’t agree with signing Dumervil to the length/salary he’s been signed too. One player I would have looked at is Victor Butler, recently signed by the Saints. A backup in Dallas, I’ve come away pretty impressed with him anytime I’ve seen him and he could have been had for less than Dumervil. Yes, he was the best option available – but none of the options available were particularly exciting for me.

    5 – I have watched the tape on Dumervil and, just like the numbers suggest, there are plenty of times where he just disappears.

    I had the same feelings about Dumervil both times the Ravens were ready to face the Broncos last season so it’s not as if I’m against the move just to be different.

    • patrick on said:

      You did not respond to my point which is that you gave no support to your claim that Dumervil is inconsistent. You noted that he averaged 6 games a year in which he generated 2 or fewer pressures, but you gave no information about the league average among pass rushers in this particular statistic. My guess is that the league average would be rather high, as pass rushing tends to be a feast or famine phenomenom which depends very much on the quality of the competition. As I pointed out, Suggs had 9 of his 14 sacks in 2011 in 3 games, with only 5 in the other 13 games, which suggests that chances are he may have had 6 games where he generated 2 or fewer pressures in the season in which he won DPOY.

      • Gordon McGuinness on said:

        Here you go: (These numbers include the playoffs)

        Cameron Wake: 3 games with 2 or less pressures in 2012;
        Charles Johnson: 2 games;
        Chris Clemons: 6 games; (a player who, while better than Dumervil, is a pretty good comparison)
        Chris Long: 4 games
        Derrick Morgan: 3 games
        Michael Bennett: 5 games
        Carlos Dunlap: 3 games
        Julius Peppers: 4 games
        Greg Hardy: 6 games
        Jared Allen: 3 games

        OLB’s

        Clay Mathews: 4 games
        Aldon Smith: 4 games
        Justin Houston: 7 games
        DeMarcus Ware: 3 games
        Ryan Kerrigan: 6 games
        Dwight Freeney: 8 games (you’ll notice I was never banging the drum for Freeney to sign)
        Paul Kruger: 5 games
        Elvis Dumervil: 7 games

        • Gordon McGuinness on said:

          Oh, and Suggs had 5 games with 2 or less pressures in the season he won DPOY. We actually weren’t too high on him as a pass rusher that year, but his play against the run was phenomenal.

          • patrick on said:

            Thanks a lot for this. I hope I didn’t take too much of your time in compiling this information and that you found it worthwhile. It would be interesting if you guys at PFF tracked this “pass rushing volatility” on a regular basis. Okay, you’ve made your point that Dumervil, like Suggs, is an inconsistent pass rusher when compared to the elite. That being said, I’d still take a guy who puts up big numbers consistently on a year to year basis regardless of his consistency on a game to game basis.

  16. Gordon McGuinness on said:

    The last time he played significantly as a 3-4 OLB was in 2009. We’ve had three full seasons since then. Plenty changes in that time. That was one of Dumervil’s best seasons, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to again. But, for the record, he had 17 sacks in 2009 as an OLB. Those 17 sacks came in 9 of the 16 games he played in.

  17. chitownravenfan on said:

    Considering how successful the Ravens have made nominal talented lineman and linebackers, to get a player of Dumervil’s skill can’t possibly be seen as either a mistake or bad move. Elvis coming here with the signing of Canty/Spears and the improved health of Ngata/Suggs/McPhee, not to mention Upshaw’s maturation with Pees defense we will be scary good. That is for the opposing team! I feel that Dean Pees has his legs under him now and has a clue how to use the talent that Ozzie has procured for him. With our current defensive roster, we don’t have a running game weakness, and the return of Webb and the confidence both Graham and Jimmy Smith will return with makes our only issue IL’s which Ozzie has 12 picks to rectify. Not even that concerned with the safety spots, since we will draft another safety and maybe pick up another free agent safety released from other teams after the draft. If we can make stars of undrafted free agents in our systems, how can anyone question what Dumervil will bring to the table. Does the offense double Suggs, or Ngata, or Doom, or Canty. We rotate Spears and Ngata at nose tackle to crash the middle the offensive line has no chance of protecting their QB or RB’s. I can’t wait!!!!

    • IrieMon on said:

      I agree 100%! I believe we have a very formidable chance of being the team to repeat in the last several years (after the Patriots). I think the D regains a top 10 status and if the offense can even come close to duplicating last years performance we will have something to say come December and January.

  18. Qman on said:

    I normally loathe reading comments! However I think that this is one of the best aspects of this site. I echo Chitownravenfan! I believe that our defense will be better this year. The mediocrity that has become the Ravens defense is not being accepted by the Ravens Organization. The great Ravens D ran its course and now it’s time to retool. I believe that the Organization is setting the stage to Draft another future Hall of Fame LB. Wishful thinking maybe, but I think the moves on the D line plays right into the same successful style they used to make Ray Lewis productive. This is a great year to Draft a LB and if the Ravens get the top player on their board, which I believe without a doubt is a LB, He will be a future HOF.

  19. bogeyroy on said:

    Gordon,

    Appreciate your article, but in your explanation it still appears you made assumptions and didn’t have all the facts. yes, you didn’t know the game plans and you weren’t in the meetings, so what you wrote could be nothing more than fiction. I am not bashing, simply stating that you need to have all the facts before writing and article…otherwise, folks aren’t going to listen to you.

    • Gordon McGuinness on said:

      Whether people listen to me or not it doesn’t change the fact that he was inconsistent as a pass rusher and poor against the run.

    • Gordon's Moustache on said:

      Bogeyroy,

      By that standard no one should be able to comment on anything. There are some things we simply can’t know, all we can do is go with what is there on the tape, which is what Gordon is commenting on.

      • bogeyroy on said:

        Gordon,
        You are correct as anyone can write or say whatever they want in this country…opinions are allowed. So I agree with you, which means you and I can also state our opinions…which we both did !

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