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: Welcome to Baltimore Eugene Monroe

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I wanted to give you my first impressions from watching the coach’s film of his first 4 games this season. Monroe is not Superman, but he’s a sharp contrast from Bryant McKinnie. Starting with the basics, he knows his responsibility on every play. He doesn’t end up with a befuddled look and he frequently is seen communicating with the G or TE on his side. His biggest physical asset is quickness, which he uses to gain consistent positional advantage. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of quick feet...

The Oh-and-Three Lament

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No one would want our record But the writers can climb a tree The best team in the league or maybe ever That started 0-3 The O and D are listless Axe Lebeau or only Haley? I could coach a bunch of zombies And be no worse than 0-3     Redman was so clutch for us A third-down back to see Now he’s caught a case of fumbleitis Which led to 0-3 We’ll get a top five pick at least Want Bridgewater or Clowney? Goodell, stop the Browns from...

FILMSTUDY: Osemele Passes While All Others Fail v. Texans

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Offensive Line Notes vs. Texans 9/22/13 The Ravens offense did a few things well Sunday despite rumors of its demise. For the second consecutive week, the team converted exactly 8 of 16 3rd downs. In addition, one of the failures was subsequently converted by Joseph’s silly taunting foul. What’s more, they relied far less on pick routes to do so. However, we discussed the Ravens’ conversion success last week and I want to talk about Tandon Doss’ 82-yard, punt-return TD (Q2, 1:05) which broke open the game. The Ravens lined...

FILMSTUDY: Defensive Analysis ~ Ravens vs. Texans

Haloti v Texans
The Ravens entered Sunday’s game a little thin on the defensive line with Chris Canty and Brandon Williams both sidelined. When Terrence Cody was injured on the first drive and the Texans ran out snapped the Ravens 22-6 in the first quarter, the situation didn’t look better. Few teams could successfully recover from being both overworked and short-handed, but the Ravens did so and won a lopsided 30-9 decision versus the Texans. To summarize the Ravens’ defensive wins: • They did not allow a pass (or any play for that...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Browns 9/15/13

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Open the stat sheet from Sunday’s game and you’ll see that the Ravens converted 8 of 16 3rd-down opportunities. Overall efficiency was excellent and the team improved to 7 for 9 in their dominant 2nd half.  What’s bothersome is the reliance on rubs and picks to get separation for their slower receivers, most notably Stokley.  The other issue is reliance on YAC to convert. Let’s review those 16 plays: (Q1, 12:43, 3rd/7)  Clark lined up left in the backfield and drifted left uncovered. Flacco threw a strike to him 2...

FILMSTUDY: Defensive Notes vs. Browns 9/15/13

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Any Ravens fan fortunate enough to have seen the 2000 defense in action has some fond memories of that unit. The 2013 Ravens aren’t going to remind us of the 2000 champions from the season statistics, but for an afternoon they reminded me of the “11 billiard balls” defense that swarmed to the football and evoked fear in their opponents 13 years ago. On multiple occasions they had 4+ men taking down the ball carrier, highlighted by the yearbook-cover sack of Weeden (Q2, 2:00) where 5 of the 6 Ravens...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Grades and Notes vs. Broncos

Dallas Clark Drop
Flacco was sacked 4 times in 66 dropbacks. It’s never good to get sacked 4 times in a game, but that’s 6.1%, below the 6.7% rate at which Ravens QB’s were sacked in 2012. It’s always good to start with the positives. The scoring is based on 87 offensive snaps for the Ravens, all of which were contested. McKinnie: Bryant brain farted when he failed to zone block with the rest of the line, leaving Irving untouched to take down Rice for a loss of 2 (Q3, 12:30). He was...

FILMSTUDY: Defensive Notes vs. Broncos 9/5/13

Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens
This is one of those games I won’t likely watch again after this week. It’s easy to dwell on the negatives, but perhaps also comforting to know the World Champs were twice thrashed similarly in 2012 (at Houston and vs. Denver). Schematically, the Ravens were limited by Denver’s no huddle.  The Ravens have a defense built for substitution, but the no huddle precluded most in-series changes.  Pees instead substituted primarily by possession.  That limited the use of Arthur Brown and forced Elvis Dumervil to play more early downs than he...

FILMSTUDY: Ravens @ Rams Preseason Game 4 Review

Baltimore Ravens v St. Louis Rams
The Ravens got through the game using just 43 players. The starters rested, putting an end to the discussion of some camp battles. Of specific note: * AQ Shipley got the start, which means Gradkowski will likely start Thursday in Denver * Ihedigbo had the night off at SS. Elam played well in his stead and it’s not clear what that might mean for Denver  * The Ravens played just 4 defensive linemen (Larsen, Cody, Tyson, and Brandon Williams) * The Ravens sat 4 OLBs (Dumervil, Suggs, Upshaw, and McPhee),...

FILMSTUDY: Ravens vs. Panthers Preseason Game 3 Review

Webb v Panthers
THE STARS RETURN   You don’t have to like the turnovers or the loss itself, but the returns of Marshal Yanda and Lardarius Webb were welcome indeed. Yanda played 19 non-penalty snaps (the first 3 series) and turned in a near-perfect performance. To summarize:     (Q1, 12:47) He drove Dwan Edwards backward 5 yards to lead Rice’s 13-yard run. (Q1, 8:32) He pulled and blocked Kuechly on Rice’s 1-yard TD. On that play, McKinnie sealed off the inside, Wagner kicked out Hardy, and Leach flattened Klein to open a...

FILMSTUDY: Ravens vs. Falcons Preseason Game 2 Review

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As in past years, I have given a number of Ravens a grade from +3 to -3 reflecting how much my expectation of their impact on the 2013 Ravens changed based on their performance Thursday. I don’t rate starters, players who have no place on the team, or anyone for whom I don’t think I have any data for a judgment. The players here are new to the team, rookies, on the cusp of making the team, have new responsibilities in 2013, in positional battles, or otherwise have something to...

FILMSTUDY: Ravens @ Bucs Preseason Game 1 Review

ravens bucs
Look back at preseason results and you’ll find they are a poor indicator of regular-season performance. Even the play of the starters is colored by play-calling and effort constraints. What I did find more telling, however, were the substitution packages the Ravens used while the 1’s were in, particularly on defense. Except as noted below, The Ravens played a basic nickel package on 3rd down including:     4-man front: Dumervil, Ngata, Canty, Suggs. Sometimes standing, mostly in a 3-point. Linebackers: D. Smith, A. Brown Secondary: J. Smith, C Brown,...

RAVENS DRAFT HISTORY: Ranking the First Round Picks

Ozzie Scouting
You’ll hear it over and over for the next few days.  You can’t miss with your first selection in the draft. Most fans point to Ozzie Newsome’s astounding ability to identify first-round stars, but equally impressive is the front office’s ability to avoid duds. Anything a player accomplishes beyond the end of the period for which he may be tendered without competition is of reduced value.  For many of these players in particular, such a discounting still results in lots of value, but the Ravens had to compete with other...

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”

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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?

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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,...