This one might get some fans fired up. This blog from Joe Juan of numberFire looks at Steve Smith’s production in 2014 and how it dropped off dramatically toward the end of the year. Jamison Hensley reported that John Harbaugh wants to keep Steve Smith fresh for late in the season, so he should expect to see less targets throughout the course of the year.
Joe tries to determine who will see those targets by looking at who receives the bulk of the targets in a Trestman offense. He concludes that Breshad Perriman, Maxx Williams, and Justin Forsett will pick up the targets left by Steve Smith (and obviously Torrey Smith, too) due to Trestman’s tendency to heavily target his primary running back, tight end, and receiver. Through proving his point, he determines that Flacco is accurate in the short game, but much less accurate on the deeper passes. LINK (no log-in necessary)
Steve Palazzalo of Pro Football Focus has a bit of a different take on Joe Flacco’s deep passing. While Joe Juan’s point is valid concerning the redistribution of targets next year, his deep passing accuracy doesn’t account for drops. PFF’s metrics try to account for those. In their deep passing analysis, Flacco ranks 8th from the range of 21-30, 26th from the range of 31-40, and 9th overall. Per their premium metrics including the playoffs, Flacco ranks 6th in total deep passing. LINK
Through this analysis, one thing you have to keep in mind is that it only looks at skill position players, so the only positions under consideration are QB, RB, WR, and TE. Joe Redemann of numberFire compares the players’ NFL production to their value determined by the Jimmy Johnson draft value chart. Because it only considers skill positions, it’s not surprising that the Ravens miss this top 5 list. With picks like Ed Dickson, Travis Taylor, and Mark Clayton going pretty early in the draft, the Ravens haven’t excelled at picking the skill positions. LINK (no log-in necessary)
Joe is back again to show the five worst teams at drafting each skill position. Unsurprisingly, the Ravens don’t make this list either. What is somewhat surprising (but not really at the same time when you think about it) is the Detroit Lions’ rank on the list of worst teams at drafting wide receivers. To those with a short memory, you might find that odd considering that they have one of the greatest receivers of all time in Calvin Johnson. But the Lions have had their history of failed early receiver picks including Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Titus Young. LINK (no log-in necessary)
Matt Reevy of Cheatsheet.com ranks the five most clutch quarterbacks of all time. He determines that Flacco is the 4th most clutch quarterback in NFL history. He says that the expectation for Flacco’s postseason record is around 5-10 which is exactly the opposite of what he’s done with a 10-5 record. It would have been sweet had the Ravens beaten the Patriots in the divisional round. Flacco would probably rank even higher. LINK
This article was posted by the Pro Football Focus analysis team and it gives a good picture of what the depth chart looks like at this point in the offseason. Obviously, training camp and preseason will determine how this shakes out, but what I found most impressive is that only one full time starter is considered below average, Courtney Upshaw. Considering he’s not even a full time starter and splits reps with Elvis Dumervil (who ranks as close to “elite” as a player possibly can), that is quite a starting roster with which the Ravens could start the season. LINK