Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Falcons 10/19/14
In years past, the Ravens would carry an offensive player solely (or nearly so) for his special teams value. Those days are gone.
Let’s do this by year of the Harbaugh era:
- 2008: Terrence Copper, Jalen Parmele, Marcus “I started an AFC Championship Game without a career reception” Smith
- 2009: Matt Lawrence, Parmele, LJ Smith, David Tyree
- 2010: Parmele, David Reed, and Marcus Smith
- 2011: Allen, Tandon Doss, Reed, Kris Wilson, and LaQuan Williams
- 2012: Allen, Reed, Deonte Thompson, and LaQuan Williams
- 2013: Kyle Juszczyk
Note that in 2014, there are no such players. Every active running back, wide receiver, and tight end has already made a significant offensive contribution.
Doesn’t it feel good that the Ravens have real depth on offense?
They ran 62 offensive snaps, all of which were competitive:
Hurst: James had his second poor game in 4 outings. Massaquoi was far too quick for him and induced all 3 holds by beating him badly. James was also beaten twice inside by Massaquoi for a QH (Q1, 1:26 and Q2, 6:06). He had 2 significant highlight blocks. He kicked out Massaquoi to open the hole for Forsett’s 21-yard gain (Q1, 3:17). He also delivered a screen block on Umenyiora to help spring Steve Smith’s 49-yard catch and run (Q3, 14:12). Scoring: 62 plays, 52 blocks, 7 missed, 1 pressure, 2 QHs, 3 holding, 26 points (.42 per play). I credited an adjustment of .05 for quality of competition and 5 highlight blocks, but that still leaves him 13 points shy of a passing grade. F.
Urschel: John improved on his fine debut with a performance that included just a single penetration (Q3, 12:14) and 7 highlight blocks. He made 8 of 9 blocks in level 2, converted both of his pulls and delivered 2 pancakes. Among his highlight blocks was a seal on Bartu (Q1, 3:17) to help open the hole on Forsett’s 21-yard run. He set up Babineaux for Hurst, then mauled Bartu in level 2 to lead Forsett’s 9-yard run up the middle (Q2, 11:41). Scoring: 62 plays, 59 blocks, 2 missed, 1 penetration, 57 points (.92 per play). He gets .03 adjustment for quality of competition plus another .03 for his star blocks above my threshold of 4. At .92, he grades out as an A without adjustment. However, his .98 with adjustment is probably the highest mark I have awarded to a guard playing 1 of his first 2 NFL games there other than Osemele’s LG debut versus the Colts in the 2012 Wild Card game. The Ravens will have a great problem on their hands when Osemele returns because interior line depth is invariably needed (like now).
Zuttah: JZ had his best game as a Raven. One of the things I enjoy about scoring offensive line play is re-watching combination blocks with today’s DVR technology. Zuttah initiated a good one (Q3, 4:13) when he set up the DT Peters to be flattened by Yanda, then moved to level 2 to block Worrilow. Pierce had to avoid a downed Falcon in the backfield and could gain only 1 yard, but those blocks are the ones that frequently create big openings. Zuttah made 13 of 15 blocks in level 2 and converted 2 pulls. He pitched a shutout in terms of pass rushing events. In addition to a pair of misses in level 2, he was driven backwards 3 times on running plays for which I scored him as missing blocks although he didn’t lose his man in any of those cases. Scoring: 62 plays, 57 blocks, 5 missed, 57 points (.92 per play). With adjustment, that’s an A.
Yanda: Marshal’s level of technical excellence can make it difficult to pick out highlight blocks. He effortlessly tees up defensive linemen for Zuttah or Wagner to further abuse as he searches for level-2 targets. His highlight versus the Falcons came when he set up Soliai for Zuttah then bulldozed Bartu to lead Pierce’s 11-yard run. I scored him for half a pressure (shared with Wagner) when Tyson Jackson navigated between the two linemen to flush Flacco (Q2, 9:53). He made all 9 blocks in level 2 and is now working on a streak of 22 consecutive level-2 connections dating back to late in the game at Indianapolis. Scoring: 62 plays, 61 blocks, 1 pressure, 1 false start, 52 points (.92 per play). That’s an A with or without adjustment. It was his best game of the season.
Wagner: Rick got a tough charge for a QH when Massaquoi bulled him, then spun away inside for a slow-developing hit (Q1, 9:05). I also charged him a half pressure described under Yanda. He went penalty-free for the 7th consecutive game and contributed 7 blocks in level 2. Otherwise, he missed just 4 run blocks, 2 of which were difficult backside opportunities. Scoring: 62 plays, 56 blocks, 4 missed, 1/2 pressure, 1 QH, 52 points (.84 per play). B. I’ll provide charts at the midway point after the Bengals game, but his consistent scoring is visually striking.
Reid: He entered for Pierce’s TD and made his block.
Versus the Falcons, Flacco had ample time and space (ATS) on 14 of 26 drop backs (54%). Summarized:
Both results are well above his 2010-13 performance. Summarizing the results relative to expectation:
Joe’s QB rating alone will tell you he’s having a career year, but just how much better has he been?
He’s had 55% ATS provided by an outstanding line. However, Joe has outperformed that terrifc opportunity set by approximately 33 yards per game, which has him on pace for career bests of 4,629 yards, 32 TD passes, and just 18 sacks.