FILMSTUDY: Ravens O-Line Missing Their Secret Weapon?

Flacco under pressure v Packers

Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Packers

Let me start by saying I agree emphatically with John Harbaugh’s decision to go for the TD on 4th and goal from the 1.

I am frankly amazed that McCarthy declined the holding call on Wagner (Q2, 5:37) to allow the opportunity.

In what I’ll call “the early Harbaugh years” the Ravens had consistent success on such plays centered on straight-ahead blocking with the insertion of the forgotten man, Haloti Ngata.

I accumulated data for the 30 snaps Ngata played between 10/26/08 and 10/10/2010. To summarize the results of those plays:

• He was used 27 times in goal-to-go situations
• 5 times he ran a pattern, 22 blocks
• The Ravens scored a TD on 15 of the 19 drives on which he was inserted

For more than 2 seasons, Haloti regularly lined up as a TE eligible, the Ravens most frequently ran a mini-stretch play to his side, and they enjoyed tremendous success. Willis McGahee was the back of choice in those situations. If you ever wondered how he scored 12 rushing TDs on just 109 carries in 2009, Haloti Ngata was the man most responsible.

In the 10/10/10 game against the Broncos, Ngata was used as a receiver on 4th down and was injured so he was unable to start the game defensively when Denver took over. He has played just 9 such snaps since then.

Ngata’s snaps have been cut sharply with the depth of the defensive line. He should be available for a few more offensive snaps. Not completely sold? He’d be replacing Ed Dickson or Billy Bajema.

If for no other reason than to make the Packers account for him, I would have loved to see Ngata inserted for that play or series.

The scores this week are a little better than you might anticipate. The Packers schemed for sacks such that only 2.33 of the 5 were assigned to linemen. Furthermore, Flacco was not knocked down on any of the non-sacks.

The scoring is based on 63 offensive snaps for the Ravens, all of which were competitive.

Monroe: Did you ever notice Monroe and McKinnie both start and end with the same letter? I did just as I changed the name. What Ravens’ fans will take from this game was Monroe’s inability to stop Perry on the strip sack to end the half. That was unfortunate, but Monroe otherwise played well. He understands who he is assigned to block and does a good job baiting outside rushers to run themselves out of running plays. He did not get good push against the Packers and registered just 1 block in level 2. Scoring: 56 blocks, 2 missed, 1 pressure, 1.17 (1 + 1/6) Sacks, 47 points (.77 per play). B-.

Osemele: What a difference 9 months makes. Last January, the Ravens appeared set at guard for the foreseeable future with Yanda’s technical skill and toughness to go with the size and bulldozing ability of Osemele. Both are now fighting through injuries and substandard play to stay in the lineup. Scoring: 53 blocks, 5 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, ½ sack, 1 false start, 45 points (.74 per play). The Packers’ strength is the interior line, so I make that a D+ with adjustment.

Gradkowski: The Packers clearly watch film. They used massive bodies to bull Gino and ran both stunts and delayed blitzes to confuse him. It all worked. Will the Ravens be concerned about the Steelers’ ability to use this information in such an important game? With the season all but on the line Sunday, I think it’s possible we may see Yanda or Shipley. The Ravens are pulling much less than they have in past seasons. Some of that is a function of the zone-blocking scheme and the near-elimination of unbalanced sets which require a puller on pass plays. It’s also possible that the regular rag-dolling of Gradkowski has raised concerns he may trip up a pulling guard. Scoring: 48 blocks, 8 missed, 1 pressure (2 x ½), 1/2 sack, 1 holding, 33 points (.54 per play). F and once again much too far from passing to consider adjustment. I’ve scored his play as a C, a C-, and 4 Fs to date this season.

Yanda: Marshal’s play may be holding up a move to center. He had his 4th consecutive poor game against the Packers. I charged him with half of the sack by Hawk on the Ravens 3rd offensive play (Q1, 11:52). Hawk blitzed through the right A gap. Yanda was trying to pass Jones to Oher, but Jones held onto Yanda’s arm to prevent Yanda from shifting to Hawk. Gradkowski could have picked up Hawk, but instead waited another moment to pick up Lattimore who also came delayed. Scoring: 56 blocks, 3 missed, ½ penetration, ½ sack, 1 false start, 1 illegal use of hands, 42 points (.70 per play). Giving him a bump of .03 for opponent quality, that’s a D.

Oher: Michael had his best game of the year. He didn’t get great push in the run game, but I scored him for just 1 pressure when he was bulled then beaten inside by Neal (Q4, 14:22). He did a good job of getting back to keep Jones out of the end zone on the strip sack (Q2, 0:12). Scoring: 55 blocks, 5 missed, 1 pressures, 53 points (.87 per play). A-.

To hear Ravens fans talk about it, Flacco was running for his life all game on Sunday. That was far from true as he enjoyed his highest percentage of Ample Time and Space (ATS) for any game this season (62%).

Despite a high-quality set of passing opportunities, Flacco’s actual results exceeded his expected based on the ATS by 48 yards.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured, Filmstudy by Ken McKusick. Bookmark the permalink.

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...more

13 Raves on “FILMSTUDY: Ravens O-Line Missing Their Secret Weapon?

  1. Rumor Ray on said:

    Ken … I miss the Jumbo Package as well. Said it right after the game and posted a forum for what happened to the Jumbo Package. Ngata has good hands and can catch if needed. Sure the fear of injury could hold the coaches back from using him or other guys, however the goal of the game is to Score Points! Nice post!

    • Filmstudy on said:

      I think the original reason was a combination of injury risk and snap count. Ngata was needed for more defensive snaps in that era.

  2. Reilly Piddlesworth on said:

    I can appreciate that there is optimism about Monroe, but how does a score of 0.77 per play equate to a B- grade? Not that this is a big deal, but it seems a bit generous. Either way, this is still the best regular column on 24×7, and I always look forward to it.

    • Filmstudy on said:

      The raw grade is .77, he gets .03 (I have granted between 0 and .10) for quality of competition, based primarily of the Packers’ ability to scheme pressure. .80 is the minimum for a B- at tackle.
      I’ve posted the scales by position a number of times, but I’ll include again with next week’s piece.

      • Jimmy Dundalk on said:

        There you go again with that ‘quality of competition’,,,,,,,,,HOW DO YOU GRADE THE QUALITY OF COMPETITION ? How do you know if they are off their game or injured or feeling sick or anything that affects their game ? These guys don’t go into contract time and say , but Ozzie I played against some really good guys , my quality of competition was very high so I deserve more quality money,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,get my point , your clouding your rating system especially when it can raise a single performance an entire letter grade,,,,,,,,,,,,you have bastardized you fine grading system by doing this,,,,,,,,,,,,,keep it objective not subjective,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,thanks for the great info,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  3. JerryB on said:

    Good idea, but the “zone blocking” must…..go! This line and our two backs didn’t suddenly lose their ability over night. The “Run Game Coordinator” (Huh?!) has taken an “O” line that, with the exception of center, was good enough to win a Super Bowl last year and turned it into a……:train wreck”!

    • Chad Spiegel on said:

      I agree with you. A lot of people are saying Rice has “lost a step” and I don’t believe something like that could happen, as you said, “over night”. Abandon Castillo’s zone blocking scheme and get him out of there. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If Harbaugh wants to give his friends a job so badly then let them take over towel or water boy duties.

      • Jimmy Dundalk on said:

        I agree , but there is no hope of Harbaugh changing things , he is too hard headed to admit he was wrong,,,,remember how long he defended Cameron ? His stubbornness could cost us the entire season , lord I hope not…………..

  4. Phil on said:

    How odd that PFF has Gino rated as the best offensive lineman from the game, yet he gets an F from you. Just so much varying opinion.
    Anyway, I think Yanda moving to center would be bad. Who would take over at RG? It’s certainly not an easy position and I don’t think any of our other lineman outside of Oher could do it, but do we really want Osemele back at tackle? It would be a huge risk in my opinion.

    • Filmstudy on said:

      I would assume Reid would be the first change at RG. At this point it’s a choice of evils. None of the options are good, but I think it’s possible the aggregate C/RG play could be raised North of the replacement level if they made the change.

      • Phil on said:

        I wouldn’t trust Reid at RG. Hasn’t he frequently been a healthy scratch? He showed nothing at LG that would make me think he should start, and wouldn’t you consider RG the more difficult of the two guard positions? Honestly, I’d rather leave this group in.

      • Phil on said:

        I was merely commenting on the differences. In one site, you see Gino rated the lowest and on one you see Gino rated the highest. Just an observation.

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