FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Browns 12/24/11

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Browns 12/24/11

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The Ravens get all the calls.  Just ask any Steelers fan.

Torrey Smith has drawn the 3 longest pass interference calls in the league this season (50 yards at Jax, 50 yards vs. SF, 60 yards vs. Cle).  No one else has drawn such a foul in excess of 45 yards.  The 60-yard PI Sunday is the longest I can ever recall.  Flacco threw the ball approximately 65 yards and Smith had separation from both Haden (via a double move) and Adams (via speed).  Adams was closer and tried to catch up as the ball was underthrown.  He contacted Smith several times as the ball arrived without turning his head. 

One thing folks don’t seem to understand is just how predictable pass interference is based on the abilities of both Flacco and Smith.  Flacco has one of the strongest arms in the NFL and Smith has a burst he can turn on seemingly at will to gain separation.  When that happens, the defender will begin to flail.  If the ball is on target, Smith will have a good chance to make the catch.  If slightly underthrown, the defender will typically make contact with Smith without finding the ball. 

It’s not happening by accident, outrageous coincidence, or because the officials always give the Ravens the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve included the line scoring for each of the last 2 games.  The Ravens had 56 competitive offensive snaps versus the Chargers and 59 versus the Browns.

McKinnie:  Bryant struggled in pass protection versus the Chargers, but as for much of the rest of the line, the effort wasn’t as bad as the 7-sack total would indicate.  McKinnie was beaten by Barnes, who distracted Flacco on the last play of the first half (Q2, 0:04). Flacco never got reset on that very slow-developing sack, but there was no gain in trying to throw the ball out of bounds since time had expired.  I charged McKinnie with just a pressure on that play.  Similarly, McKinnie allowed pressure when beat outside by Barnes (Q3, 8:36) that forced Flacco to step up.  Joe kept his eyes downfield for another 1 or 2 seconds, then tucked the ball and looked to escape the pocket.  Barnes finally returned to sack Flacco on a play that took approximately 6 seconds to develop.  I also charged that as a pressure.  McKinnie did not allow a pass rush event of any sort in either game against the Browns.  He’s been a solid pass blocker in the 2nd half of the season with just 1 sack and 4.5 QHs allowed in the past 8 games.  The 2nd game against Cleveland was probably his best overall game of the season.

Scoring vs. SD:  50 blocks, 3 missed, 1/2 penetration, 2 pressures, 1 false start, 42 points (.75 per play).

Scoring vs. Cle:  54 blocks, 5 missed, 54 points (.92 per play).

Grubbs:  Ben was party to 3 of the sacks allowed versus the Chargers. He was beaten inside by Tommie Harris for a fast-developing sack (Q3, 9:49).  He was also beaten outside by Thomas for a pressure on Flacco’s 2nd interception.  Versus the Browns he had no negative pass blocking plays and scored highly on his mobility blocks with 15 level 2 blocks, and 2 successful pulls in 2 attempts.  I also scored him for 2 pancakes.   I thought it was a big deal in the first Browns game when Grubbs and Yanda each had 13 blocks in level 2, but 15 is the highest total I can recall scoring.  Subjectively, I’d say it was Grubbs best game of the season. 

Scoring vs. SD:  51 blocks, 0 missed, 1/2 penetration, 1 pressure, 1.75 (1 + ½ + ¼) sacks, 37.5 points (.67 per play).

Scoring vs. Cle:  54 blocks, 5 missed, 54 points (.92 per play).

Birk:  I charged him with just a piece of 1 sack (Q4, 15:00) versus San Diego.  On that play, the pocket collapsed in every direction, so I split the sack between Grubbs, Birk, Yanda, and Oher.  Versus the Browns he had one of his worst games of the season with 8 missed blocks and a penetration allowed when Schaefering beat him to Birk’s left to drop Rice for a 3-yard loss.  I have Birk’s 8 misses labeled as “driven backwards” (3 times), L2NB (moved to level 2, but didn’t find a block, 4 times), and “shed” (once).  He pulled successfully once. 

Scoring vs. SD:  53 blocks, 2 missed, ¼ sack, 51.5 points (.92 per play).

Scoring vs. Cle:  50 blocks, 8 missed, 1 penetration, 1 false start, 45 points (.76 per play).

Yanda:  Aside from the shared sack mentioned above versus the Chargers, Marshal had a clean slate as a pass blocker.  He missed only 2 run blocks (both pulls) and had 3 blocks in level 2 and 2 pancakes.  Versus the Browns, Yanda may have been hurt on Williams run (Q1, 3:27).  On the very next play (Q1, 2:51); he was beaten to the outside by Rubin for a 10-yard sack.  He stayed in for another 11 snaps (all of which were successful blocks) before he was replaced by Gurode.

Scoring vs. SD:  53 blocks, 2 missed, ¼ sack, 51.5 points (.92 per play).

Scoring vs. Cle:  19 blocks, 1 missed, ½ pressure, 1 sack, 12 points (.55 per play).

Oher:  Michael was having a fine game against San Diego until the final play of the 3rd quarter (Q3, 0:10).  On that play he allowed Butler to slip off his block and record a QH (shared with Rice).  I charged him with a pressure on the fumbled snap that resulted in a slow-developing 9-yard sack (Q4, 2:13).  He shared a sack with Grubbs (Q4, 0:46) when he was bulled by Martin to cause the initial pressure on Liuget’s sack.  Oher did not improve against the Browns.  He was party to 3 pressures which resulted in 2 incompletes and an interception (Q4, 14:15).  Once again, he drew the toughest assignment on the Browns line, Jabaal Sheard.  Michael’s last 4 games he’s had a cumulative points per play of .79.  That’s less than we could have hoped for after he seemed to establish his play at a higher level through much of the middle of the season.  He will be hard pressed to regain that level of play with Gurode replacing Yanda.

Scoring vs. SD:  51 blocks, 1 missed, 1 pressure, ½ QH, .75 sacks (½ + ¼), 43 points (.77 per play).

Scoring vs. Cle:  51 blocks, 5 missed, 2.5 pressures, 1 false start, 43 points (.73 per play).

Gurode:  Andre played well as a replacement for Yanda.  He had 2 blocks in level 2 and did not register a negative pass-blocking event as I have it scored.  Since the Browns have some talent at DT with Rubin and Taylor, his play was a nice surprise. 

Scoring vs. Cle:  36 blocks, 1 missed, 36 points (.97 per play).

Reid:  Reid had 1 jumbo snap in each of the 2 games and made both blocks. 

Other Offensive Notes:

•             In a paradoxical twist, Flacco had ATS on 30 of 42 (71%) of his drop backs versus the Chargers.  That is his highest percentage of ATS since the beginning of the 2010 season.  Versus Cleveland he had ATS on 56% of his drop backs, matching his season average.

•             With ATS vs. SD: Joe completed 20 of 29 passes for 220 yards with 2 TD, 1 INT, and 1 sack for 0 yards (7.3 YPP).  That’s 2 less YPP than he had with ATS in 2010 (9.3 YPP), but unfortunately, it’s consistent with his 2010 average (7.5 YPP).

•             With ATS vs. Cle: 8 of 14, 80 yards with 1 TD, 0 INT (5.7 YPP).  On the surface that is awful, but if you add in the 60-yard PI to Torrey Smith as a completion, he jumps to 9.3 YPP.

•             Without ATS vs. SD, Joe was 4/6 for 24 yards (-19 net), 0 TD/1 INT with 6 sacks for -43 (-1.6 YPP).  That’s the worst game by YPP of the 33 since the beginning of 2010. 

•             Without ATS vs. Cle, 3/10 52 yards (42 net), 1 TD/1 INT with 1 sacks for -10 (3.8 YPP).  The Cleveland game was about as close to statistically average in all ATS dimensions as we are likely to see. 

•             Vonta Leach had another fine game as a blocker.  He held off Maiava on the 60-yard PI.  He threw 2 blocks (Gocong then Young) to lead Rice on an 8-yard run right (Q2, 13:17).  He flattened Young again as Rice ran through a crowd for 11 yards (Q2, 12:51).  He made a contribution as a receiver when he caught a pass 6 yards behind the LoS, broke a tackle from Maiava, and ran for 11 YAC (Q2, 10:27).

•             The Ravens ran 3 naked bootlegs with excellent results.  The outcomes were the 60-yard PI (Q1, 10:13), an 18-yard pass to Williams (Q3, 7:46), and the wide open pass that was dropped by Dickson (Q3, 13:07).

•             Evans did not record a catch.  He and Flacco must share responsibility for Brown’s end-zone interception (Q4, 14:15).  That’s a pick Mason would not have allowed.  Since the key 1st down against the 49ers, he’s caught just 1 of 12 balls thrown to him (the sideline tap dance against the Colts) with 1 drop and 2 interceptions.  For the year he has been the target 23 times with 4 receptions, 3 interceptions, and 1 drop (QB rating 0.9!).  I can’t even recognize him from preseason when Flacco and he seemed to develop an immediate connection.  Despite all these negatives, it’s possible Evans can contribute for the remainder of this season.  The offense requires another contributor, particularly if Boldin is not active and while it looks like he has lost his speed, I think he and the Ravens may realize the need to make use of his route-running savvy.

•             Torrey Smith is having a fine rookie year, but would you call him a safe target for Flacco?  He’s caught just 54% of the passes thrown to him, but he’s also got 7 TD with just 1 INT.  Despite all the deep balls thrown to him, the only interception came on a drop 7 yards from the LoS (vs. Arizona, Q2, 6:02).  Flacco’s QB rating throwing to Smith is 110.9.  Add in the 4 accepted pass interference calls as catches and that rating would be 117.9.

•             Tandon Doss played just 9 snaps against the Browns.  He was targeted just once with no receptions and is still looking for his first NFL catch.

•             For the first time in a while, the Diesel was shut down against the Browns.  Dickson caught just 2 of the 7 balls thrown to him.  Pitta was on the field for 39 snaps, but not targeted despite 17 snaps in the pattern.  Pitta has still yet to drop a ball this season. 


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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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