Dean Pees’ Defense Playing Like Ravens 1996 Unit
During the preseason we witnessed over-the-top theatrics from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. He ran roughshod over CSN’s Brent Harris during a halftime interview; lost his composure over a bad preseason call on Terrell Suggs in Philadelphia; had to be separated from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden after trying to play the role of peacemaker.
There’s a fire burning down below for Harbaugh and it seems to be fueled by frustration.
Something is obviously amiss with the Ravens. They lack an identity. On offense they want to be a team grounded by the running game so that it opens things up in the passing game. Yet on Sunday against the Bengals they ran it 18 times for 36 yards. The Ravens tailbacks combined for 15 yards on 18 carries. No, not a typo. In case you are keeping score that 0.83 yards per carry.
And we thought the 2013 rushing attack was bad!
Defensively, it’s as though Dean Pees’ unit is celebrating the club’s 20th season by playing defense like the 1996 Ravens. Visions of Donny Brady and Antonio Langham and DeRon Jenkins danced in my head. There was a time (pre-Pees) when the Ravens would take out a team’s No. 1 WR with bracket coverage and force opponents to beat them with less desirable passing options.
Well not any more, unless of course you call 227 receiving yards a take out.
Harbaugh’s frustrations boiled over again.
“It seems to be a regular occurrence with him. One of these days, we’ll figure out how to cover A.J. Green. It’d be nice if we did that one time before he retires. They re-signed him, didn’t they? So, he’s going to be around for a while. We better figure it out.”
It’s an ugly situation.
Can we all admit that the team is lacking in leadership and playmakers and THAT is an organizational dilemma. There’s plenty of blame to go around for the composition of the roster and the results from Sunday. Let’s keep it to Sunday, for now!
The stats will tell you that Joe Flacco wasn’t sacked so those with less discerning eyes might conclude that the offensive line had a nice day protecting their quarterback, particularly when considering the 46 attempts. They did NOT! Flacco did a great job avoiding the rush (he was hurried 13 times) in an attempt to make a play. He did that successfully and in doing so, without even a smidgen of a running game, he was able to at least give the Ravens a fighting chance. He made a few blunders with accuracy and the inexplicable interception gifted to Pacman Jones…Marshal Yanda was the only offensive lineman to have a positive day. He’s easily the team’s most consistent player and it’s not even close.
Brandon Williams‘ outstanding effort was wasted. He was a stalwart at the point of attack, making 8 tackles in total, four of which were for gains of 1 yard or less…Elvis Dumervil was menacing off the edge, forcing a game changing fumble while adding a sack and 5 hurries…Overall the Ravens generated some pressure of front, 17 hurries in total and 3 sacks but with a secondary that couldn’t cover a corpse with an infield tarp they did their part. The only member of the secondary that didn’t smell like burnt toast was Lardarius Webb who yielded only 1 pass for 9 yards on 3 targets…CJ Mosley was clinical in his textbook tackling particularly in space. There was a day when his go ahead score would have stuck at M&T Bank Stadium. Unfortunately those days are gone.
Kamar Aiken was on the field for 64 snaps. He was targeted once despite the extra attention Steve Smith, Sr. commanded. Forty-six passing attempts and Aiken had exactly 0 catches. And this is the Ravens No. 2 WR?… Marlon Brown had a key drop to stall a drive and plays so much smaller than his 6’5″ body would suggest. He just doesn’t get much from an ideal physical frame…
Kelechi Osemele through 3 games has graded out as the league’s 58th best offensive guard out of 75 graded by Pro Football Focus (“PFF”). That’s not how you want to play during a contract year but the numbers don’t lie. Oh and that penalty to negate a critical first down conversion in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, now there’s something for your agent to sell KO…Not sure if John Urschel will be up soon for KO or Jeremy Zuttah. The Ravens left side of the line beginning with Zuttah has been as coordinated as a Stevie Wonder driving lesson. The zone-blocking scheme that was so effective under Gary Kubiak now looks like the zero blocking scheme. Defenders are attacking the back end of the stretch with effectiveness because the plays are far too slow in developing… Rick Wagner isn’t the player so far this campaign that he was in 2014. Last season he graded out as the league’s second best RT. This season he’s the league’s second worst tackle. More on who’s worse in a moment. I’m wondering if Wagner is healthy…Although there was pretty much nowhere to go, the running backs did little in the way of yards after contact.
Hey, is Jason Babin ever going to suit up? I know, I know, it’s tough to tell him to go get the quarterback being that he’s now in Dean Pees’ sophisticated scheme, right?
James Hurst shouldn’t even be in the NFL. It’s embarrassing that the Ravens have to start such a poor player to protect Joe Flacco’s blindside. He’s the worst (by a long shot) of the 73 tackles graded by PFF. Not only is he a practice squad at best player, he can’t even remember the snap count. Maybe it has to do with wearing that No. 74…By the way, does Eugene Monroe really want to play football? Of the last 6 meaningful games played by the Ravens, he hasn’t even been on the field for a full half. Sure, concussion protocol is important but this guy is nicked up way too often. He missed 5 regular season games in 2014, now 2 1/2 (and counting) so far in 2015. He got his payday in 2014. I’m wondering if Monroe loves the game or if he’s only in love with the paycheck. Maybe there’s a reason no one else even sniffed at the opportunity to sign Monroe when he was a free agent…Did I say the Ravens tailbacks averaged 0.83 yards per carry?
The Ravens secondary, what can you say? Everyone not wearing No. 21 was terrible. Rashaan Melvin saw more yellow than an Irish soccer match. This is the guy Ozzie Newsome was excited to see on the field? He picked up where he left off in New England last January…Kendrick Lewis makes me miss Darian Stewart and James Ihedigbo. In case you are wondering the Ravens can cut him after the 2015 season and save $933K under the 2016 cap…More bad secondary news – over the course of the last 10 games the Ravens have surrendered on average 297.5 yards per game through the air which would be good for 29th in the NFL. Shockingly the average is that high even though the Ravens faced these three QBs to finish the 2014 regular season: Blake Bortles (210); Casey Keenum (185); Connor Shaw (177).
How do the Ravens explain the lack of protection, running game and offensive weapons for Joe Flacco? You want him to be a franchise quarterback, great. I agree. How about giving him some weapons to get a return on your $120M investment? The Ravens apparent unwillingness to properly provide Flacco with impact players on offense and a player to effectively protect his blindside is a blistering indictment of the front office…Yesterday we learned that Breshad Perriman tweaked his knee before the game and now who knows when he’ll dress. And with Monroe hearing bells like he’s Quasimodo at Christmas time, can we expect anything different on Thursday night in Pittsburgh?
Where would this offense be without Steve Smith, Sr?
THE MEGAN FOX AWARD
On a bad offense that can’t run, adequately protect the passer and with complementary receivers that are open about as often as an outdoor swim club in January, it’s a modern day miracle that Steve Smith, Sr. can put up numbers like 13 catches, 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. His competiveness should be inspiring. Maybe the 2015 Ravens aren’t inspirable.
I wonder when the purple “Owen” photoshopped jerseys will start floating around the interwebs?