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: Offensive line model and notes vs. Chargers 11/25/12

Anquan Boldin has carried the Ravens’ receiving corps at times this season, but heading into his final year under contract, he has some weaknesses which aren’t going away, and others that are being exacerbated by his reduced speed. He was targeted 8 times with 2 catches, but might have caught any of three balls that went incomplete. - He was slowed following the flight of the ball over his head and couldn’t quite catch up to a deep ball down the right sideline when he had Jammer beat (Q1, 9:56)....

FILMSTUDY: Defensive shell game continues…notes vs. Chargers 11/25/12

If Dan Fouts, instead of Ian Eagle, had handled the play-by-play call on 4th and 29: Trips left, Smith alone on the far side of the field. All but five of the good…er, Chargers lined up at least 15 yards downfield…Four man pass rush…Flacco has all…freaking…day. He dumps it off to Rice on the right side. Rice turns upfield to the 50…are you kidding me, 3 stiffarms? He’s at the 40 and Boldin lays out Weddle from behind. Where’s the flag? Rice dives for the first down marker and he’s...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Steelers

Why does it seem like the Ravens and Steelers games are always close? Some people will tell you it’s a matter of familiarity, others that the rivalry or the fans bring it out of the players. I think Sunday’s game was close for a much different reason. The Ravens, facing Byron Leftwich and noticing the condition of the Steelers’ QB, decided this game would be fully in the hands of the defense. It was Ravens football, 2008 style. With a 10-7 lead from midway through the 1st quarter, Flacco threw...

FILMSTUDY: Winning Krugly…Defensive Notes vs. Steelers

November 18, 2012 The Ravens won an ugly game Sunday. How ugly? I went through all 204 games the Ravens played since 2000 to make this list, and was only able to come up with 14 nominations that combined winning, versus a bad (or injured) team, by a close margin, with notable help from the opponent. Here is my list of the 5 ugliest Ravens’ wins in that period: 1. Ravens 9, Chiefs 6 10/7/12: The Ravens allowed 214 yards rushing to the Chiefs on 50 carries, but the Chiefs...

Potential AFCN Tiebreaker Scenarios: Ravens v. Steelers

It’s Never too Early for Tiebreakers We won’t get into a full discussion about the Wild Card, but I want to look at the tiebreakers strictly with the Steelers in the event they are tied with the Ravens for the division lead at season’s end. In doing so, we are (rightfully) ignoring the Cincinnati Bengals. First, a look at the results and upcoming opponents is useful: Ravens (7-2): @Pit, SD, Pit, @Was, Den, NYG, @Cin (3-0 in Div, 1-1 vs. non-common opps, 6-1 in Conf, 1-1 vs. NFC) Steelers (6-3):...

FILMSTUDY: Defensive notes vs. Raiders 11/11/12

The 2007 Ravens were the last Baltimore team with as many players asked to do more than they can do well defensively: –The 2007 team scraped the absolute bottom of the CB barrel trying Ivy, Martin, Pittman, finally resorting to street pickup Willie Gaston–all on the outside. –For the first 6 games of the season the 2007 team got very little pass rush from their down linemen (they were 0 for 44 on their initial 4-man rushes) and resorted to dime pressure from Jerome Sapp and Corey Ivy. –The team...

FILMSTUDY: Managing the Vacation Schedule ~ OL Notes v. Raiders

Particularly considering the short rest and potential injury list for the Steelers, the ability to treat Sunday’s game like an exhibition could prove valuable down the stretch. Let’s review: * Pernell McPhee was inactive for a 2nd consecutive week. * Haloti Ngata and Jimmy Smith both dressed, but took PTO days to ride the exercise bike. * Bobby Williams was relieved on what we can only hope is not disability retirement after 14 snaps. * Rice had his last carry on the Ravens first offensive snap of the 2nd half...

Vonta Leach flattens the Browns 11/4/12

When the Ravens acquired Vonta Leach prior to the 2011 season, I wrote a piece analyzing the final game of the 2010 season when he led for Arian Foster who secured the AFC rushing title with a big game versus Jacksonville. You can find that article here: http://russellstreetreport.com/filmstudy-a-day-in-the-life-of-vonta-leach/ This piece along with most that I write, is ideally read with access to NFL Rewind. That indexes the plays and allows you to skip quickly to any given (Quarter, Time) reference. By doing so, it’s possible to follow along with the...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive line model and Notes vs. Browns 11/4/12

One comment I see regularly is that the Ravens give up on Rice and the run game too quickly. Sunday’s game provided clear evidence that the success the Ravens have running comes in 2-back sets with Vonta Leach in the I or offset-I formation. Leach had an outstanding game as a run blocker, for which I’d like to provide play-by-play detail in another piece. On 6 occasions that I counted the Browns linebackers and secondary actively chose to avoid contact with Leach by going down. Most of his blocks moved...

FILMSTUDY: Defensive Notes vs. Browns 11/4/12

Brandon Weeden throws v Ravens
I read an excellent piece on the early days of football which described a game in which Jim Thorpe had a huge punt that essentially won a football game in an era where the basic strategy in football was “Wait for your opponent to screw up.” The same can be said about the Ravens series history with the Cleveland Browns. On Sunday, the Ravens rolled up an early 14-0 lead, but then played bend-but-don’t-break defense the rest of the day to hold Cleveland to 15 points despite a horrific offensive...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Team Notes vs. Texans

Birk bloody nose
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...

FILMSTUDY: Suggs brings back sizzle but it’s hardly enough

Suggs warmup v Texans
Defensive Notes vs. Texans 10/21/12 Much is not right, but we’ll leave that for the coaches and the bye week. There is also plenty of blame to be dealt, but I’m going to focus on the Ravens’ lone (and very significant) positive. The broadcast of Sunday’s game would have upset me if I were a Texans’ fan. Dan Dierdorf maintained four quarters’ worth of shock on the return of Suggs peppered in with some praise of the courage of Osemele (after the crew missed him re-entering on the Ravens TD...

Ranking the Ravens’ 2nd round draft picks

Jamie Sharper SBXXXV
The release of Sergio Kindle closes the book on an unsuccessful draft pick. Whether or not he can be resigned to the practice squad, the Ravens have exposed him to the remainder of the league, so any residual play value he may have can’t really be ascribed to the fact the Ravens drafted him. I thought it would be fun to go back through the Ravens draft history and rank the 2nd-round selections.  In each case, I’ve given the year drafted and overall number of the selection along with some...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Chiefs and Cowboys

Rice v Cowboys
The week’s biggest move was Williams’ insertion at LG for Harewood. While I think it’s possible Harewood will provide depth at some point this season, he dropped from starter to inactive versus the Cowboys. The scores below include the game against the Chiefs (53 snaps excluding 2 kneels) and Cowboys (48 snaps, excluding 1 kneel): Oher:  Michael had 2 games which left his season score nearly unaffected.  Versus the Chiefs, he surrendered half a sack (Q1, 6:14) and a pressure to Tamba Hali.  He didn’t fare much better against Justin...

FILMSTUDY: Defensive Notes vs. Chiefs 10/7/12

Ray Lewis v Chiefs
The defensive analysis of this game is fairly simple given the Chiefs’ straight-forward game plan.  In the first half, the Ravens surrendered 179 yards rushing and despite a 3-3 tie, the Chiefs would continue with a similar plan in the second half. I think it would be a mistake to call the Chiefs’ running attack conservative.  Given the wide disparity of results (lots of big negative plays with 17 plays of 6+ yards) it is more similar to a passing game, but without much of the big-play upside available through...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Browns 9/27/12

Ravens Offensive Line 1
With the new alignment, I think it’s worthwhile to examine not only the game against the Browns, but also the performance of each lineman to date this season. The Ravens’ starters played all 77 offensive snaps. Oher:  He had a night of negative visibility but Michael’s penalties kept his score down this week in what would otherwise have been his best game of the season.  The false start was one where it appeared he knew when the ball was to be snapped (perhaps by something he initiated, but he beat...

FILMSTUDY: Defensive Notes vs. Browns 9/27/12

Ravens Defense v Browns
If you wanted more variety for the Ravens’ pass rush, you got it Thursday. The Ravens used a blend by scheme and number.  While they only sacked Weeden once in 53 passes, they knocked him down on 9 other occasions, generated an intentional grounding penalty, and induced a hold.  It’s not time to start worrying about the pass rush after a game where the QB takes that sort of a beating.  Weeden played well, but his 59.8 rating was impacted by the Ravens’ rush. By my scoring method, Pees attempted...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Patriots 9/23/12

Ravens Offensive Line
What a great game! I couldn’t stop saying it and on the way back to the car, but Maureen suggested 2 other home games in Ravens’ history with that sort of drama.  The 44-41 win over Seattle in 2003 was a bigger comeback that featured a litany of extraordinary plays.  Similarly, the win over Jacksonville in 2000 capped by Sharpe’s game winning TD was the milestone first win over what was thought to be the biggest divisional obstacle at the time. I’ll watch all 3 of these games many more...

FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Eagles 9/16/11

TrentCole1
An effective 4-man pass rush is perhaps the single most valuable defensive asset in today’s game.  Teams that can get pressure with 4 will find a way to stop the passing game of virtually any NFL team.  Conversely, teams that can’t stop the 4-man rush are almost universally unsuccessful. The Eagles rushed exactly 4 on 34 of Flacco’s 44 drop backs.  Every one of those 34 plays was a simple rush of their 4-man front without any blitzers or zone drops.  On those plays Flacco was afforded Ample Time and...

FILMSTUDY: 13 Plays that would haunt the Ravens

Celek jumps Ed Reed
Breakdown of the big pass plays v. Philadelphia Eagles (9/16/12) One of the new Tuesday night pleasures is the release of the coaches’ film for the Sunday games on NFL Rewind.  Given how the Ravens lost Sunday’s game, I thought it would be worthwhile to review the biggest plays from that game. The coaches’ film is available with the Season Plus package.  It’s a newly-offered $70 per year package that I recommend.  If you read my column regularly, I include the quarter and time references so you can follow with...