Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Bucs 10/12/14
The prospects looked dim with Monroe still out and Osemele inactive for Sunday’s game, but the Ravens again proved deep enough with solid performances from both backups.
As a group, the line didn’t allow a sack and Flacco was knocked down just once. There were 6 separate run losses where responsibility for penetration was assigned, but no game changers (4 times -1, 1 of -2, and the fumbled exchange). For the first time this season, the line was penalized 4 times. While no player turned in a near-perfect performance, the aggregate result was outstanding.
There were a total of 60 competitive snaps (excludes 1 spike and 3 kneels):
Hurst: James still looks lost as a run blocker at times, but he didn’t allow a single pass rush event the week after he had 8 (including parts of 3 sacks) versus the Colts. I charged him with missed blocks on 3 separate occasions where Michael Johnson had him beat, but in each case, Flacco either had the ball out quickly (twice) or was already hit (see Yanda). He was flagged for holding Johnson (Q2, 10:41), which stalled the Ravens for the first time. His other negative event was failing to block Bowers on the Taylor/Gradkowski fumbled exchange. Scoring: 60 plays, 54 blocks, 5 missed, 1 penetration, 1 holding, 46 points (.77 per play). I credited an adjustment of .04 for quality of competition, which gives him a B. Wilcots made mention of the 1 run-play star I scored for him. He pulled left and pushed the right shoulder of David to spring Forsett for a gain of 11 (Q4, 10:41). That play illustrates his finesse nature as a blocker. I didn’t have other extended blocks noted. Don’t worry, be happy. Hurst did the job as a pass blocker and Flacco capitalized.
Urschel: John had a solid first start that included 6 star blocks and a fair amount of time opposite Gerald McCoy. He made 9 of 10 blocks in level 2, succeeded on his only pull and delivered 3 pancakes. He missed a cut on McDonald that allowed Forsett to be taken down for a loss of 2 (Q2, 11:14). He held Solomon (Q3, 10:45), which resulted in a stalled drive. Scoring: 60 plays, 56 blocks, 2 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, 1 holding, 46 points (.77 per play). He gets .06 adjustment for quality of competition, which is how I scored all the interior linemen and an extra .01 for each starred run block above the threshold of 4. With a total adjustment of .08, that’s a B.
Zuttah: Jeremy had a solid day as a run blocker including 9 of 10 blocks converted in level 2. His highlight came when he drove back David in level 2 to lead Forsett’s 10-yard run (Q2, 0:29). One other play interested me in particular. Pierce was taken down for a loss of 1 on a zone block left where McDonald penetrated between Zuttah and Yanda (Q4, 10:06). Zuttah didn’t block anyone on the play until McDonald was almost past him and Yanda didn’t block to the left. After the play, Zuttah turned to Yanda and made a rotating gesture with his right hand which indicates to me that Marshal probably blocked in the wrong direction, so that’s how I charged it. He had a much more difficult day in pass protection, where he allowed 2 pressures and was flagged for illegal use of hands (Q1, 2:27) when overmatched by Spence (Q1, 2:27). Despite the penalty, he was unable to prevent Flacco from being hit. Scoring: 57 plays, 51 blocks, 2 missed, 1 penetration, 2 pressures, 1 illegal use of hands, 38 points (.68 per play). With adjustment, that’s a high F.
Yanda: Marshal had a false start on the game’s first play from scrimmage, but Flacco and Juszczyk immediately picked him up on the next snap with an 18-yard gain. He allowed the Ravens only QH when beaten inside on a twist (Q2, 9:31). He made all 12 blocks in level 2 as the Ravens’ interior linemen were an astounding 30 for 32 in such situations vs. the Tampa blocking dummies. I scored him for 6 star blocks, but the one with greatest effect was his pin of Gholston for Zuttah and release to snowplow David out of the way to help spring Forsett’s 52-yard run (Q1, 14:27). Scoring: 57 plays, 52 blocks, 2 missed, 2 penetrations, 1 QH, 1 false start, 43 points (.74 per play). C.
Wagner: Wagner’s play at tackle has been remarkably consistent for anyone, but particularly considering he’s getting his first appreciable playing time. McCoy beat him inside to take down Pierce for a loss of 1 (Q4, 8:43). I scored him with only 1 pressure allowed, to Gholston (Q1, 9:33) when Flacco barely missed Daniels in the end zone. Otherwise, he delivered his normal, grinding effort in the run game and again provided outstanding pass protection. He had 4 level 2 blocks and delivered 2 pancakes. Scoring: 60 plays, 54 blocks, 4 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, 50 points (.83 per play). B. If you want proof of the increasing influence of PFF, see where Wagner ends up in the Pro Bowl alternate rankings. He’s invisible to the rest of the NFL and a decade ago, he’d have to play at his current level for 4 years before he got Pro Bowl recognition. With their consistent individual metric (and the plethora of excuses to avoid the game), I think he’s nearly even money to go this season.
Gradkowski: He entered for the next-to-last drive and he and Taylor were unable to connect on an exchange for the Ravens’ only turnover. He made his 3 blocks. He appears to be last on a 9-man depth chart at this point. Urschel might start over him at center if Zuttah were to go down.
Reid: He entered with Gradkowski and made all 3 of his blocks. Those included a punishing level-2 block on Taliaferro’s 25-yard run (Q4, 3:42).
Flacco had ample time and space (ATS) on an impressive 19 of 28 drop backs (68%). Summarized:
YPA ~ Yards per attempt
Both results are well above his 2010-13 performance. Summarizing the results relative to expectation:
The Tampa pass rush was vanilla. They only tried 1 overload blitz and otherwise never dropped 8 to coverage. Joe shredded the Tampa 2 with skinny posts and slants to Torrey Smith and several boots, which created ATS opportunities. Included among those was the leisurely stroll to his left aided by Steve Smith’s separation tap for his 56-yard TD (Q2, 14:09). I can’t recall ever seeing a play-action fake more effectively sold.