Ravens O-Line Missing Their Secret Weapon?

Filmstudy Ravens O-Line Missing Their Secret Weapon?

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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.

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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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