FILMSTUDY: Under Pressure

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Under Pressure

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A Very Simple Offensive Line Model 10/14/07 v. Rams
I wanted to review the offensive line play in the Ravens first full game with the new line.
First off, they need a nickname for them.  I don’t like the “Kiddie Corp”, and I really don’t like (and surprised I have not heard) “The New Kids on the Block”.  Sadly, like most actuaries, I couldn’t come up with anything that was both good and creative.
I came up with a very rudimentary scoring system which is designed to allow for review of a game in 1 hour or less:
  • Each play with a successful block or maintaining a gap in pass blocking: +1
  • Each penalty: -3 per 5 yards
  • Each sack: -6 divided among those responsible
  • Each QH allowed: -3 divided among those responsible
  • Play with no block or a missed block: 0
  • Play with a missed or failed block that allows significant backfield or pocket penetration: -1
  • Blocks on plays with penalties are included if the play goes off (excludes pre-snap penalties)
  • Please note all sacks and QH’s will not be distributed since they may have a back or TE as responsible or occur because of an overload.  I would describe my actual scoring strictness as “when in doubt, credit the block.”
There were 68 plays run and each lineman made some mistakes:
Gaither: 64 plays, 2 sacks allowed, 1/3 QH, 6 missed, 1 penetration, 54 blocks, 40 Points (.63 per play)
Brown: 68 plays, 2 false starts, 1/3 QH, 2 missed, 2 penetration, 63 blocks, 54 points (.79)
Chester: 68 plays, 1 holding, 1/3 QH, 2 missed blocks, 6 penetration, 58 blocks, 45 points (.66)
Grubbs: 68 plays, 2 QH, 3 penetrations, 63 blocks, 54 points (.79)
Yanda: 68 plays, 1 QH, 4 missed blocks, 1 penetration, 62 blocks, 58 points (.85)
Kracalik: 4 plays, 1 QH, 3 blocks, 0 points (0)
A few notes:
  • This system is pretty good for counting mistakes, and it’s not bad for pass blocking, but it fails to capture a lot about good run blocks, when linemen pull, the relative value of blocks based on the result of the play, etc.  It also fails to capture the quality of the opposing lineman or the lineman standing next to you, each of which would require much more effort to track.  It’s by no means perfect, but it’s intended to be a simple system to gauge players relatively and track improvement on a gross level.
  • If you are looking for a scoring flaw, I think I have not put a big enough penalty on penetration.  If that were -2 instead, then Chester would have the worst points per play of the starters.
  • Kracalik came in as the LT on 4 goal line plays with Gaither as an eligible receiver on 3 of those.  I did not rate Gaither on those plays.  Krac allowed himself to be bull rushed into the QB, which caused Boller’s INT.
  • Gaither was beaten for 2 sacks (Hall and Little) in his first start.  The latter resulted in Boller’s fumble.  While athletic, he was clearly overmatched by professional pass rush moves.  I wouldn’t say he is particularly slow afoot, but he did not anticipate well.  In a way, that’s good, because it can be fixed.
  • Brown has now started 18 NFL games.  At some point, the false start rate needs to drop.  He led the team with 7 last year.  Aside from the penalties, I thought he played pretty well.
  • Chester had a poor game at center.  Carriker and Glover were in the backfield several times each.
  • Grubbs was very active pulling.  Subjectively, I’d say he was the Ravens’ best run blocker Sunday.
  • Yanda gets the benefit of avoiding being charged for a QB hit on a rusher (Little) he might have blocked (McClain missed).  Since Yanda blocked inside (Grubbs might have taken that man) and McClain made no real attempt to block Little, I faulted McClain.
  • With the broad array of problems, I am very happy with the play of both Boller and McGahee.  Boller in particular stood in to deliver several deep throws as he was hit.  I also would not fault Billick for returning to very conservative offensive play calling at Buffalo.  It’s clear to me the Ravens would benefit both from shortening the game and keeping their defense on the field for as few plays as possible without McAlister.  Another game like SF is fine by me.
  • Obviously, I don’t know what constitutes a good game with this system, but 1 point per play would be perfect.  I would guess that anything in excess of .9 would be quite good.

Photos by Michael Neapolitan & Sabina Moran

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Ken McKusick

About Ken McKusick

Known as “Filmstudy” from his handle on area message boards, Ken is a lifelong Baltimorean and rabid fan of Baltimore sports. He grew up within walking distance of Memorial Stadium and attended all but a handful of Orioles games from 1979 through 2001. He got his start in sports modeling with baseball in the mid 1980’s. He began writing about the Ravens in 2006 and maintains a library of video for every game the team has played. He’s a graduate of Syracuse with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Math who recently retired from his actuarial career to pursue his passion as a football analyst full time.

If you have math or modeling questions related to sports or gambling, Ken is always interested in hearing new problems or ideas.

He can be reached by email at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @filmstudyravens.

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