FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes 10/19/08

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes 10/19/08

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The Ravens moved the ball fairly effortlessly against the Dolphins.  While you can point to several bad throws, Flacco had a great game, as did McGahee, who nonetheless had a costly fumble.  This was a game where the Ravens could have scored 38 points.  The solid play of the offensive line was a very welcome sight after the loss of Yanda in the Colts debacle.

I again reviewed the game using my simple O-line model.  You can find the description as well as all the caveats here:


O Line Model


All 5 starters played every snap.  Cameron did not use the 6-man line with both Terry and Yanda out.  The team allowed 2 sacks for 14 yards.  It would be good if they could hold it to that every game, but they allowed no other QB hits and only 2 other tackles for loss (TFL).  You’ll notice only 1 sack is assigned below, since Neal was the pass blocker responsible on Porter’s 2nd.  The OL was penalized once each for holding and a false start.  Here are my individual observations:

Gaither:  Did not show the run push he has in previous games.  He’s staying with his blocks, but the fewer unbalanced plays and the lack of 6-lineman formations may have limited his ability to get good inside run-blocking opportunities.  The Ravens ran 8/17/11 times to the L/M/R respectively.  That’s a little unexpected given the injuries on the right side.  The 8 runs to the left gained 59 yards (7.4 YPC).  Gaither had 1 tough play in pass protection.  While his man did not get the sack, he was beaten by the blitzing Will Allen on Porter’s first sack.  That, along with an extra rusher on the left caused the pocket to be flushed and Porter looped inside, then slipped off Brown to record the sack.  I charged that one equally to Brown, Grubbs, and Gaither.  Gaither also picked up a holding penalty that wiped out a 9-yard run on the Ravens last drive.  Scoring:  56/61 blocks, 4 missed, 1/3 of a sack allowed, 1 holding penalty, 48 points (.79 per play).


Grubbs:  His push was good, but he did not have any level 2 blocks I noticed on running plays.  Obviously some of that is a function of how and where the Dolphins crowded the LoS.  All 3 interior OL’s were terrific on 2 screen passes run just 3 plays apart in Q4 (see below), but Grubbs delivered the key block on each play.  He was asked to pull just twice and both times found a block.  I charged him with a portion of Porter’s first sack.  Scoring:  58/61 blocks, 1 missed, 1 penetration, 1/3 of a sack allowed, 1 false start, 51 points (.84 per play).


Brown:  At some point I’m going to start taking this for granted, but the footwork is just excellent among Brown, Flacco, and the Guards.  Try watching a replay of just 1 or 2 pulling plays and you’ll see big men, maneuvering precisely in tight spaces.  Brown is the player who can trip any of the 3 with a misstep or penetration, so he gets the most credit.  If you go back and watch the 2003 Ravens, I think they had a better run blocking line, but it was very painful to watch the number of instances of tripping.  Imagine, as actually occurred, each of those trips causing a loud and profane exclamation at either the TV set or the field and you have a very hoarse man with a number of folks looking back at him.  Scoring:  57/61 blocks, 3 missed, 1/3 sack allowed, 55 points (.90 per play).


  A very pleasant surprise. 

played well and the Ravens exploited his mobility.  He pulled 9 times and picked up a block on 7 of those.  He succeeded in finding a block while pulling on all 4 of the Ravens runs from the unbalanced left which all went left for a total of 33 yards (8.3 YPC).  I counted 6 level 2 blocks, which led the team.  He had no costly breakdowns as a pass blocker.  Scoring 55/61 blocks, 55 points (.90 per play).


:  Recovered from the Ravens worst individual line performance of the year vs. Indy to play well.  His lack of mobility is a serious issue against decent speed rushers, but the backs, particularly McClain, did a fine job pass blocking in this game.  By my scoring,

missed just 1 block late in the game, but I’d subjectively say he plays standing up too much in the running game and it is atypical for him to get good push.  The Ravens 11 right side runs gained just 20 yards, but the Ravens were effective running left when unbalanced (see below)  This is clearly a case where the system is not capturing the quality of run blocks, but I can’t take the time to grade more specifically.  Scoring 60/61 blocks, 60 points (.98 per play)


Unbalanced:  The Ravens ran their unbalanced formation 5 times, all with

lined up left of Gaither.  As noted above, they ran left on 4 of those plays for a total of 33 yards.  Each of those plays had a pull from

and are worth a review if you have the recording.  The times are (Q2, 12:25), (Q3, 11:24), (Q3, 4:03), and (Q4, 3:51).  Flacco threw incomplete on the only pass from the formation.


Screens:  The Ravens ran the screen very effectively Sunday.  I hope this means it’s going to be a bigger part of the offense, because they have the personnel to make it effective.  Two plays are worthy of special note (and review).  Both occurred on the Ravens 2nd drive of Q4 (14:45, and 12:57).  You’ve seen the highlights of these plays which were a 40-yard gain by Rice and a 35-yard gain with a fumble by McGahee, but if you have the chance to watch those plays again, take a look at the offensive line. 


An awful lot went right on that first play.  First, the Ravens sold their blocks as they allowed their opponents through, including Rice who chipped before releasing.  Next, each of the interior linemen positioned himself well for downfield blocking setting up 3 wide within a yard or so of the LoS as Rice received the ball.  The only Dolphin who appeared to be in position and diagnosed the screen was Kendall Langford, the LDE.  Grubbs peeled back and blocked him high to the shoulder and helmet sending Langford rolling. 

at first obstructed Rice, which actually helped him wait for blocks, but Chris then lunged and pancaked Ayodele (who was in the path, but going down anyway).  Brown looked inside and delivered obstructive blocks to both Crowder and Goodman that kept Rice’s lane clear.  Only Allen’s diving stop kept Rice from scoring.


Just 3 plays later, on 3rd and 17, the Ravens lined up with 4 standing receivers and McGahee as the lone back, left of Flacco in the gun.  The Dolphins rushed 5, but Crowder diagnosed the screen early.  No matter, Grubbs flattened him, rolling him out of McGahee’s direct path for good measure.  Brown and

both led the play with 2 backup lineman (Starks and Merling) trailing McGahee. 

peeled back and effectively blocked Starks as Merling fell further behind.  Brown pushed Goodman off the play just long enough for McGahee to slip into the seam at the 30.  Willis appeared to be going down near the 10-yard line when
Bell dislodged the ball with his left hand and

recovered.  Despite the result, the play was very well executed by the offensive line.
Photo by 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. More from Ken McKusick


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