Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Jets 11/24/13

Filmstudy Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Jets 11/24/13

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The legendary 2000 Ravens defense gave up a league-record low 8.35 defensive points per game (167 defensive points allowed in 20 games) by a playoff team.  They’ll be etched forever in the minds and hearts of Baltimore fans as the greatest defense of all time.

The 2013 Ravens offense has struggled.

What do these two have in common?  As of now, both have an average of 4.5 yards per offensive snap.  Since the 2000 average is unlikely to change, it is up to the 2013 offense to improve to avoid this embarrassment.

By the way, you might be surprised to hear which Ravens team had the lowest yards per play average on defense (answer at the bottom).

The scoring of the offensive line is based on 62 offensive snaps for the Ravens, all of which were competitive.

Monroe:  Monroe recovered from a bad outing against the Bears.  I continue to be impressed with his run blocking effort on plays to the opposite side.  He was beaten inside by Coples for a pressure (Q3, 1:05) and was bulled by Richardson for a sack shared with Oher (Q4, 12:09).  Otherwise, he played a clean game and held the left side effectively in pass protection and against run penetration.  Scoring:  60 blocks, 1 pressure, ½ sack, 55 points (.88 per play).  A.

Shipley:  A.Q. worked hard to recover from 2 first-half penalties, but that is a deep hole for an interior lineman.  What was there to like?  He moved well including a pull and 11 of 12 blocks in level 2.  The Jets interior behemoths, particularly Wilkerson, gave him trouble.  Shipley allowed a sack to Wilkerson (Q2, 12:00) despite holding him.  The sack and the penalty were negated by Wilkerson’s roughing, but the situation might otherwise have been 1st and goal from the 5.  Scoring:  56 blocks, 4 missed, 1 pressure, 1/2 sack, 1 illegal block, 1 holding, 53 points (.63 per play).  I’d give one of the largest adjustments for opponents this season, but I can’t go beyond .06 points/play, nor is there anything really special about his run-blocking effort that warrants extra credit necessary to get him to .70.  F, or F+ if you prefer.

Gradkowski:  Gradkowski earned a barely passing grade after a solid 2-game stretch where it appeared he might have made a step forward.  That now appears to have been an exploitation of the weakness of the banged-up Bears and Bengals.  This was a game where Gradkowski’s grade may actually be better than his performance.  He missed 6 blocks when he was pushed back by NT Harrison (Q1, 5:47 and Q2, 9:14 and Q4, 8:53 and Q4, 3:30 and Q4, 2:48 and Q4, 1:57).  None of those plays resulted in a loss, which would have reduced his score further.  As a pass blocker, he was beaten 3 times in a 5-play sequence (beginning Q2, 12:34) for a QH (Wilkerson) and 2 pressures (Ellis and Richardson) as the Ravens’ drive stalled at the 8-yard line.  Scoring:  51 blocks, 8 missed, 2 pressures, 1 QH, 44 points (.71 per play).  With a .06 adjustment for the Jets’ interior line talent, that’s a D-.

Yanda:  Marshal gave another game of snap-to-whistle effort, including some punishing level-2 blocks.  He may have got a scoring break on the muffed stunt pickup by Oher (Q3, 6:46).  Yanda ended up blocking the outside rusher past the pocket and Oher had to navigate past both he and Rice to pick up Pace.  However, because Oher made no sign of awareness or effort, he got the sack charge.  Scoring:  56 blocks, 5 missed, 1 pressure, 54 points (.87 per play).  At guard that is a high B adjusted to an A for the Jets’ interior quality.

Oher:  It was another apathetic game for Oher.  He’s not getting much done on the back side and effort is only occasional.  I always enjoyed the work of Bill James growing up.  His baseball writing got me interested in modeling sports.  Occasionally, however, he would lapse into psychological analysis of a player which I always thought was beyond his ability to analyze the observable facts.  I try to avoid guessing what a player’s feelings might be because I’d be terrible at it.  All that said, I wonder if Oher now sees the writing on the wall with regard to another contract with the Ravens and is allowing it to impact his play.  In addition to the sack I charged him with on the failed stunt pickup (see Yanda above), he was bulled by Richardson for a sack shared with Monroe (Q4, 12:09) and was beaten outside by Richardson for a QH (Q4, 12:48).  Scoring:  49 blocks, 8 missed, 1/2 penetration, 1 pressure, 1 QH, 1.5 sacks, 34 points (.55 per play).  He’s one of 3 Ravens linemen (Shipley, Gradkowski) who straddled the pass/fail line with adjustment.  In his case, I’d adjust by .05 points per play for the combination of Calvin Pace and some of the bigger interior players.  That adjusts him to a D-.

Wagner:  Rick made all 6 of his blocks when he entered as an eligible receiver.

Here are the Tabular Ample Time and Space (ATS) charts for Flacco for the last 4 weeks:


With ATS:

Without ATS:

  • All 4 of these games were played in adverse weather conditions for passing.
  • Joe was, nonetheless, significantly below his expected passing yards for the opportunity set.
  • He’s taken 3 sacks and had 4 interceptions with ATS the last 4 weeks
  • 7 of the 8 individual results (4 games, with and without ATS) are below his YPP averages for 2010-2012

Other notes:

  • Tyrod Taylor has been in the news all week.  Basically, he can help the offense in 2 ways.  Lined up at WR and used as a decoy, he has value to dictate assignments for other receivers.  As a runner he can get some first downs, which would be most valuable when defending a lead.  The football-analysis adage “teams run because they win, they don’t win because they run” is applicable here.  As a passer, he won’t help the team and the offense is playing 10 on 11 when he plays QB with Joe split wide.
  • Remember all the talk in camp about the Pony backfield with both Rice and Pierce on the field simultaneously?  It happened for what I believe is the first time Sunday (Q2, 13:21) with Taylor at QB in the Pistol.  Rice ran right for no gain.
  • Where have you gone Vonta Leach?  In the last few weeks, the Ravens have all but abandoned 2-back sets unless dictated by lead or weather.  They had 15 2-back alignments against the Jets including 11 in the 4th quarter.  Several of those included either Dickson or Clark in the backfield.

Trivia answer:  The 1999 Ravens allowed just 4.1 yards per play, lowest in team history.

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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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