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  1. #73

    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?



    I'm kinda surprised this thread has managed to make it to four pages.

    I don't think my opinion differs a lot from the consensus here. Leach is the best Fullback in the NFL. That's fact---and confirmed by the respect among his peers in tonight's vote.

    Do the Ravens absolutely need him to be successful? Of course not. A lot of teams are successful without even using a fullback.

    Does having Vonta Leach on your roster give you more ways of beating your opponent? Most certainly. Even if you ignore the intangible part of the equation that Leach brings on to opposing defenses through wear-and-tear factor, he brings a blocking presence that gives a bit more of a dimension to the Raven offense. That dimension is underused by a lot of teams right now to the point where it's assumed that it's no longer necessary. Yet, for a team playing in the AFC North, I think having a fullback like Leach makes you more potent down the stretch of games, where running the ball to maintain possession and milke the clock is crucial. I think back to the game in Cincinnati to finish our season, and my assessment of Leach's value is finalized there.

    I will break away from the consensus here in terms of Leach's value to the salary cap. I'm perfectly okay with Leach's contract value. Leach is the best fullback in the NFL. Just because it's a devalued position overall doesn't mean that his specific value in terms of ability should be devalued. In the end, a player's salary is designed to do one thing....help you produce more wins. I guess you have to ask yourself this question. If the Ravens did not have Vonta Leach last year and would have had a Hynoski or Vickers in his place, would they still have been a 12-4 team? In my humble opinion, they would have not. I think to the regular season Houston game and how well he opened up holes for RR against a very stout Texans defense. I think about the Cards game and both Cincy games and think how big runs shaped the momentum surges of those three contests. Without Leach, we are an 11-5 team, and in Denver for Wild Card weekend. So, even if Leach's salary was $5 million a year, I think the quality of play from his position he brought the Ravens would be well worth it.

    Leach took up less than 3% of our total 2012 salary cap. It's not as if his contract was standing in our way of getting over the top. With the money committed to Leach last offseason, what could the Ravens have done instead? The Ravens 2012 roster had no holes. The only two positions of need during the entire season (WR and MLB) were only brought on by injury. It's not as if the Ravens missed out on an opportunity to sign a good player to fill a vital role due to the money they gave to Leach. The type of money they gave Leach, had they redirected it to another positon, would have gone to sign a depth player on the O-line, D-line, or LB positions. I'm sorry, but I don't think that any player at any of those positions (in theory) would have provided the Ravens with more win value than Leach did. Again, we are talking about the #1 fullback in the NFL. The #1 fullback in the NFL probably gets paid the same in free agency as the #90 WR in the NFL or the #120 O-lineman or linebacker. There is no argument that you can ever make that would entice me to believe that the best player in the entire league at his position (excluding long snapper or maybe punter) would bring less win equity to a team than a middle-of-the-road player at another position. The Ravens won games last year due to Leach's ability. There is no assurances that the same amount of money redirected to another position would have even come close to replicating the extra tangible value Leach brought.




  2. #74

    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Quote Originally Posted by LukeDaniel View Post
    There is no argument that you can ever make that would entice me to believe that the best player in the entire league at his position (excluding long snapper or maybe punter) would bring less win equity to a team than a middle-of-the-road player at another position.
    The best FB in the league, like Vonta Leach, brings less "win equity" to his team than a middle-of-the-road quarterback, like Joe Flacco.

    Bottom line on Leach: tremendous asset in the running game, tremendous liability in the passing game.

    It hasn't been emphasized enough how unhelpful Leach is in the passing game. He is not as good a pass-blocker as he is a run-blocker. That's kind of a tough standard, since he's an awesome run-blocker, but I think he's just average as a pass blocker. And Leach is terrible as a receiver. Just 4.6 yards-per-catch last season, which is already low, but his actual productivity was worse. Football Outsiders has his catch rate at 56%, which is bad for a RB. They show him targeted 27 times on the season; so 14 catches for 69 yards works out to 2.6 yards per pass attempt. That's even worse than Lee Evans was (slightly).

    Normally with an offensive player as useless as that in the passing game, I'd say a team would be better off without him. Completely. It's a passing league; the Ravens should run more single-setback, 2TE-2WR formations or more 3-wide. But Leach is a helluva run blocker. A lot of value in short-yardage or goal-line, and he does spring Rice for some long runs. So he can be a valuable piece.

    I like to see Leach thump a guy, and see Rice get loose. I like to see us run the ball successfully. That's a fun aspect of the game, when it's working. The Ravens wanted to improve their running game, and Leach does that. But it's a double-edged sword.

    All of you guys who think the Ravens need to use Leach a lot, that's fine. But then you lose the right to complain about Cam Cameron's offense being unimaginative and the Ravens being unproductive in the passing game. Because as much as he helps with rushing, Leach is part of the problem when it comes to passing the ball.




  3. #75
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    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimZipCode View Post
    The best FB in the league, like Vonta Leach, brings less "win equity" to his team than a middle-of-the-road quarterback, like Joe Flacco.

    Bottom line on Leach: tremendous asset in the running game, tremendous liability in the passing game.

    It hasn't been emphasized enough how unhelpful Leach is in the passing game. He is not as good a pass-blocker as he is a run-blocker. That's kind of a tough standard, since he's an awesome run-blocker, but I think he's just average as a pass blocker. And Leach is terrible as a receiver. Just 4.6 yards-per-catch last season, which is already low, but his actual productivity was worse. Football Outsiders has his catch rate at 56%, which is bad for a RB. They show him targeted 27 times on the season; so 14 catches for 69 yards works out to 2.6 yards per pass attempt. That's even worse than Lee Evans was (slightly).

    Normally with an offensive player as useless as that in the passing game, I'd say a team would be better off without him. Completely. It's a passing league; the Ravens should run more single-setback, 2TE-2WR formations or more 3-wide. But Leach is a helluva run blocker. A lot of value in short-yardage or goal-line, and he does spring Rice for some long runs. So he can be a valuable piece.

    I like to see Leach thump a guy, and see Rice get loose. I like to see us run the ball successfully. That's a fun aspect of the game, when it's working. The Ravens wanted to improve their running game, and Leach does that. But it's a double-edged sword.
    All of you guys who think the Ravens need to use Leach a lot, that's fine. But then you lose the right to complain about Cam Cameron's offense being unimaginative and the Ravens being unproductive in the passing game. Because as much as he helps with rushing, Leach is part of the problem when it comes to passing the ball.
    Just because a team is run-based doesn't mean it cant be imaginative. The San Francisco 49ers, for example got very creative on offense, despite being a running team.




  4. #76

    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Quote Originally Posted by mommathurgoesthatman View Post
    Im not saying Leach sucks or he didnt help the running game. Im saying we could have sign a FB who is just as affective as Leach but at a cheaper price.
    There isn't a FB that is effective as Leach - at any price.




  5. #77
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    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    Oher was much better as a rookie than he's been in either season since. Why? I don't know since you rarely see that but it's difficult to dispute.
    I think the constant shifting around the OL has something to do with that. You move a guy from RT to LT and then back to LT there is likely going to be some drop off in his play.




  6. #78

    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Leach is a beast.







  7. #79
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    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corey View Post
    I think the constant shifting around the OL has something to do with that. You move a guy from RT to LT and then back to LT there is likely going to be some drop off in his play.
    The only other Tackle I've seen this with is Ryan Clady of the Broncos who also had a great rookie season and then kind of fell off ever since.
    He Who Dares.....Wins




  8. #80
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    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Yes you need him and here is why!

    http://www.nflrush.com/video/3700
    Hating Steeler Fans Since Birth

    Section 126, Row 33




    Lets Go Flacco




  9. #81
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    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    Oher was much better as a rookie than he's been in either season since. Why? I don't know since you rarely see that but it's difficult to dispute.
    Didn't the Ravens have a different OL coach in Oher's rookie season? I really don't like the OL coach they have now. I generally like Harbaugh, but am getting tired of the "good ol' boy" approach that he has to hiring coaches. Just because Harbaugh's dad had a relationship with Andy Moeller's dad, doesn't mean that Moeller should get a job with the Ravens. Hire people based primarily on qualifications, not primarily based on relationships.




  10. #82
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    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt1 View Post
    Didn't the Ravens have a different OL coach in Oher's rookie season? I really don't like the OL coach they have now. I generally like Harbaugh, but am getting tired of the "good ol' boy" approach that he has to hiring coaches. Just because Harbaugh's dad had a relationship with Andy Moeller's dad, doesn't mean that Moeller should get a job with the Ravens. Hire people based primarily on qualifications, not primarily based on relationships.
    They had the same coach for Oher's first 2 seasons. Moeller came in last year. Honestly I don't understand how he kept his job after being suspended from drunk driving. This hiring friends drives me nuts too.
    He Who Dares.....Wins




  11. #83

    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimZipCode View Post
    The best FB in the league, like Vonta Leach, brings less "win equity" to his team than a middle-of-the-road quarterback, like Joe Flacco.
    There are 85-90 QBs in the NFL. Joe Flacco, at worst, is probably the 11th or 12th best QB in the entire league. He's hardly middle of the road. A middle of the road player, as far as QBs are concerned, would be someone in that 35-45 range. That's a player who is a serviceable starter or very good backup. That would be someone like Vince Young or Marc Bulger (circa 2010). That type of player, in today's NFL economy, gets roughly the same $3 million per year as Leach does on the open free agent market.

    You aren't comparing apples to oranges from the get-go with your analysis IMO...

    The point I was trying to make is if you took the contract given to Leach and re-directed it to another player, what would you get? You're not getting an impact player at any other position for $3-$4 million/year in today's market. You're getting a marginal starter or solid reserve. If you buy wisely, you're getting a Cory Redding or Bernard Pollard type player....a guy who can start and do well, but in more of a complimentary role. A lot of players who get that $3-$4 million in the free agent market turn out to be Gurodes or Chris Carrs, who have little impact on win shares for your season. They are more depth guys. They are decent players, but they won't impact your immediate success as much as the #1 run blocking fullback in the league would.

    Just my opinion.
    Last edited by LukeDaniel; 05-31-2012 at 11:51 AM.




  12. #84

    Re: Seriously, Do The Ravens Need Vonta Leach?

    To be fair though, you need to look at what $3-4 million can get you towards an upgrade at a position, not just look at what it can get you by itself. In other words, how much better is a $9-10M per year WR than a $6M WR, etc?

    For the Ravens, however, I don't think it changes much since we are pretty strong at every position; and where we could possibly improve, we have young up-and-coming guys who you wouldn't bench or ditch in any event.

    Count me in the camp that agrees with you, Luke. I think Leach's contribution is significant and that it is money well spent (relatively).




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