About Ken McKusick

Ken McKusick

Ken comes to us via area message boards where he has consistently posted some of the most insightful and memorable posts that you'll find anywhere.  Known as "Filmstudy", Ken is a lifelong Baltimorean and rabid fan of Baltimore sports who grew up about 1 mile from Memorial Stadium.  He attended all but a handful of Orioles home games from 1979 through 2001.   Ken bleeds orange in more ways than one.  He's a graduate of Syracuse University, where he earned degrees in both Broadcast Journalism and Math and now works locally as an actuary. The message board member name "Filmstudy" comes from his collection of video from every Ravens game ever played and his player-participation-by-play tracking system for defense that he developed in 2006.  This system is the cornerstone of his thoughtful and one-of-a-kind analysis of the complex Ravens defense.  

FILMSTUDY: The curious case of Rolando McClain

McClain Arrested 600
If you’ve ever seen Jerry Springer’s game show Baggage, you have a sense of the matchmaking effort necessary to bring Rolando McClain to the Ravens. McClain comes to Baltimore a 23-year old with 3 years worth of NFL experience but a lifetime of off-the-field baggage through which Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh had to sift.  McClain is not without on-field baggage as well and I’ll focus on that. Rolando Mcclain was clearly a very unhappy man in 2012.  He played for a bad football team and lost the trust of...

ANALYZING THE RAVENS 2013 SCHEDULE: It’s all about the “When”

Flacco v Patriots September 23 2012
Get Smart was one of my favorites growing up.  I missed it in prime time, but like many Baltimoreans, got a chance to watch the classic 60’s shows on channel 45 in reruns. One gag that would come up frequently was the Chief and Max arguing about whether the “why”, “when”, or “how” of a crime was more important  (“If we know the ‘how’, we’ll know the ‘why’ and the ‘when’…’’). As to the Ravens schedule, we knew the “who” and the “where” the day the season ended.  Yesterday’s announcements...

RAVENS DRAFT HISTORY: Ranking The 4th Round Picks

JJ v Chargers
There is a sweet spot for the Ravens’ front office when selecting between 98 and 137.  It’s there, in the 4th round, that the Ravens may have had their greatest relative success. 1. Jarret Johnson 2003 (109):  A.  Johnson was originally drafted as a DT and played there in 2003.  It still shocks me to see his size that season, but he lost a mess of weight and was among the NFL’s best edge setters for 8 of his 9 seasons with the Ravens. 2. Edwin Mulitalo 1999 (129):  A-. ...

Salvage value of Anquan Boldin – Ranking the Ravens’ 6th round selections

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With $6 million in cap savings in the balance this March, the Ravens were set to cut Anquan Boldin if he would not accept a salary reduction.  When the sides could not agree on a new contract, the Ravens traded Boldin for a 6th round draft pick, generating some salvage value. The 6th round selection the Ravens acquired from the 49ers is better than many of those they have used in the past because it’s earlier than the compensatory 6th round selections (albeit 31st in round 6), and it can...

Ranking the Ravens’ 3rd round draft picks

Webb Pick
Ask a football fan what you expect to get with a 3rd-round draft pick and you might get a few different answers: * A good player at a position with a deeper pool of (size-and-shape) applicants.  Safety, guard, running back, and linebacker are all good candidates because pass rushers, tackles, and quarterbacks are all gone by then. * A player with injury or off-field concerns who otherwise would have been drafted higher * A player with an incomplete set of tools who is smart, embodies organizational values, interviews well, etc....

FILMSTUDY: An alternative system for labeling draft “busts”

Sergio Kindle 650
I want to suggest a way to consider draft busts that is a little different than what you’ve seen.  We can agree that draft busts come in many shades of gray and that’s what makes a lot of draft discussions interesting, but the additional dimensions of time and roster space are typically overlooked. When I’m defining draft busts below I want to exclude all players who held a regular offensive or defensive role for more than two full years and played well.  Obviously, Ray Lewis and Jon Ogden aren’t on...

FILMSTUDY: How much of an upgrade is Dumervil?

R
Do you ascribe Pro Bowl status to each first-round draft pick the Ravens make on the day of the draft? Was it difficult for you to imagine how either Albert Belle or Glenn Davis would hit less than 40 HR in their first year as an Oriole? Were you excited immediately following the acquisitions of Jim Harbaugh, Scott Mitchell, Leon Searcy, Elvis Grbac, and Dominique Foxworth? Did you have Lee Evans penciled in for 70+ receptions and 1100+ yards in 2011? If you answered yes to any of these questions,...

FILMSTUDY: 2012 Offensive Line Analysis

Ravens Offensive Line 1
“Versatility” is a buzzword with offensive linemen that is often identified as an asset, but is subject to misuse. It’s nice to have someone on the bench who can play C/G or a guard who can play tackle decently if the need arises.  It’s also nice to have a guy who won’t be a big downgrade if forced to move from RT to LT. However, it’s not a positive to have a set of tackles that “might be more effective inside”.  That’s not versatility, it’s an inability to play the...

FILMSTUDY: 2012 defensive personnel analysis – Defensive Line

ravensdline
Note: For analysis of the Ravens’ secondary CLICK HERE, and for linebackers CLICK HERE. At his press conference following the Super Bowl, Ozzie Newsome was clear in pointing fingers at the middle of the Ravens’ defense, notably DT, as a spot where the Ravens must improve in 2013. Before we talk about the object of his affection, I want to suggest a way to consider draft busts that is a little different than what you’ve seen.  We can agree that draft busts come in many shades of gray and that’s...

FILMSTUDY: 2012 defensive personnel analysis – Linebackers

krugerellerbesb
A year ago the Ravens had no group with more potential for change than the linebacker corps. While injuries changed the players involved, the retirement of Ray Lewis combined with the 2012 changes will likely make 2013 a transitional year for the Ravens’ linebackers. Emerging in 2012 were Paul Kruger, Josh Bynes, Dannell Ellerbe, Albert McClellan, and Courtney Upshaw. Meanwhile, declines in value included the play of Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, Brendon Ayanbadejo, JJ’s free agent departure, and team’s parting with Sergio Kindle. Michael McAdoo spent another year on IR,...

FILMSTUDY: 2012 defensive personnel analysis – Secondary

reedgraham
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...

SUPER FILMSTUDY: Jekyll and Hyde Defense Delivers in the Clutch

Upshaw forced fumble
Super Bowl XLVII Defensive Notes vs. 49ers 2/3/13—Jekyll and Hyde Defense Delivers in the Clutch For a change, the Ravens played just 60 snaps defensively, but nonetheless allowed a SB-record 468 yards for a winning team.  The Ravens failed to contain the run effectively, allowing 6.3 yards per carry and were burned for 9.2 yards per pass play. So how did the Ravens come out on top with such a poor defensive effort?  The simple answer is that the Ravens won a majority of the game’s most important plays.  As...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive line model & notes, Super Bowl XLVII

rizzlesuperbowl
Joe Flacco completed an amazing postseason with the Super Bowl MVP award. As usual, he was good when the offensive line provided Ample Time and Space (ATS).  They did so on 18 of 35 drop backs (51%) Sunday.  With ATS, Flacco was 12 of 18 for 165 yards, 2 TD/0 INT (9.2 YPP, matching his season average).  It’s important to convert opportunities with ATS, but against one of the league’s best defenses, Flacco was outstanding without ATS. Let’s review those 17 opportunities without ATS by play: (Q1, 11:58)  McDonald bulled...

The Science Behind Point Spreads

money_ball copy
Just who is this “Vegas” I’ve heard so much about? The Super Bowl offers a host of wagering options.  It’s an opportunity for the uninitiated to get exposure to a wide variety of wagers. Some like block pools or drawing names for the game’s MVP from a hat are simply attempts to randomly redistribute money without the need for skill.  But the bulk of football-watching America has an external-to-the-game interest involving either fantasy football or some form of wagering against the spread, over/under, money line, etc. If you know how...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive line model & notes vs. Patriots 1/20/13

mountflaccoko
The AFC Championship game can be broken down into 3 distinct phases for the Ravens: Phase 1:  Through the first drive of the 2nd half (the game’s first 35 minutes), the Ravens ran their typical offense with lots of runs, 13 2-back sets among 33 plays (1 had Pitta motioned into the backfield), play action, and 7 points, and 155 yards in 6 modest possessions.  The Ravens were fortunate to trail just 13-7 and got a fresh opportunity following Wes Welker’s dropped conversion attempt (Q3, 10:03). Phase 2:  The Ravens...

FILMSTUDY: AFC Championship Defensive Notes

ellerbe int
The drama was reduced, but the game in New England was much like that in Denver. The Ravens controlled the run effectively, holding the Pats to 3.9 YPC and no run longer than 9 yards (Denver 3.2 YPC, long 11).  They did it despite playing nickel for 77 of the 80 contested snaps (Denver 80 of 86). The Ravens faced a pair of drop back QBs who were both affected by the weather.  Manning attempted just 1 pass of 20+ yards in the Denver cold and Brady completed just 1...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive line model & notes vs. Broncos 1/12/13

joedenver9
Much had changed between the 12/16 meeting with the Broncos in Baltimore and Saturday’s instant classic.  Only Matt Birk was starting at the same position as in that game.  Marshal Yanda was inactive in December, Bryant McKinnie was still on the bench, Michael Oher was at LT, and Kelechi Osemele at RT. In the first meeting, the Broncos rushed 4 men on 37 of 43 dropbacks, yet allowed Flacco Ample Time and Space (ATS) on just 37% of all pass plays.  On Saturday, the line provided ATS on 24 of...

Bill Vinovich, Mr. Subliminal

vinovich
Let’s take a moment to appreciate something other than the Rocky Mountain Rainbow. In a game that was an instant classic in soooo many ways, Referee Bill Vinovich’s overtime introduction fit right in. It’s obvious from the way he spoke that he was reading body language, so I’ll fill in the gaps as I’m best able: “Excellent job so far” [I’ll try to act like a helpful authority figure even though our credibility is pretty well shot after those first four quarters]   “Are you players aware of the overtime...

DEFENSIVE NOTES V. BRONCOS: Ray Lewis more than just inspiring

Manning sacked
In a game where Peyton Manning displayed limited zip on his throws, the game turned on the Ravens’ ability to stop the run under less than ideal circumstances. Deferring discussion of Corey Graham’s heroics, this was a game where Denver’s special teams kept the game close and the Ravens’ run defense deserves much of the credit as they played exclusively nickel for Denver’s first 68 snaps.  In effect, the Ravens dared the Broncos to run the ball, which they were not able to do effectively for most of the day. ...

FILMSTUDY: Examining Kruger’s best game and “The Last Dance”

Kruger sack
Remember the 1996 Ravens’ offense?  You’re not alone if you’ve forgotten how good Vinny Testaverde was that year with a receiving corps that included Michael Jackson, Derrick Alexander, Floyd Turner and tight ends Brian Kinchen and Eric Green. Testaverde was a fine no-huddle QB and the Ravens had a solid offensive line.  It’s been said that former Ravens Head Coach Ted Marchibroda wanted to go exclusively to a no-huddle offense, but he didn’t believe the defense could hold up to the additional time on the field. Fast forward to 2012...
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