Orlando Brown’s first NFL game got the star treatment it deserved from NBC. Since he was the most significant Ravens offensive lineman to receive an extended trial, I decided to score his game play by play.
Scoring: 55 plays, 47 blocks, 5 missed, 1.5 pressures, ½ sack, 41 points (.75 points per play). With adjustments for quality of competition (Kylie Fitts and Nick Williams primarily) and highlight blocks, that’s a B- at tackle.
Here are the negative pass rush events:
• (Q2, 8:03): Brown was beaten outside by Kylie Fitts. Bozeman was also bulled on the play, but it was the pressure allowed by Brown which was in Griffin’s face. RGIII dodged past to the right, and had time to throw on the run. However, he was unable to find an open target and stepped out of bounds for a 1-yard sack. It would be unreasonable to charge the sack to Brown when Griffin had so much time to unload the ball, so I charged him with a full pressure (-2) and Bozeman with just a missed block (0).
• (Q2, 1:27): Brown was again beaten outside, this time by Kylie Fitts for a late pressure (he was in Woodrum’s face right at 3 seconds/90 clicks). Woodrum was able to step up to avoid the pressure, but LT Justin Evans was beaten inside by Nick Williams who took down Woodrum from behind for the sack. Again, this is a tough pass rush charge given the timing, but I split the sack between Brown and Evans (-3).
• (Q2, 0:19): He was again beaten outside by Fitts on a pressure I scored as shared with Maurice Shakir (-1).
These 3 plays are all good examples of why partial scoring of pass rush events is needed for accuracy. If you score by integers only, as PFF does, then you have no middle ground when there are multiple players responsible for a high-cost event, like a sack. In many discussions over the years, the PFF folks have toed a party line that they want to award 2 sacks if each of 2 players would have given them up independently. I estimate that description matches perhaps 5% of sacks and 10-15% of pressures. Another 50% are clear solo events and approximately 40% are combination events where there are multiple contributors.
It is my understanding PFF is improving their grading system to reflect the relative value of pass rush events which they have calculated using an estimated points model. As a mathematician and sports modeler, I can tell you that has challenges, but they will likely have a more accurate valuation by event. However, when they multiply by integer assignments they lose most of that gained accuracy. To do so is akin to fixing a clock with a fine screwdriver in your right hand and a sledgehammer in your left.
• Brown was used to pull just once and connected on a 1-gap move around the TE noted by Michaels. It’s not a long pull as is often required of guards in the power run game (past a minimum of 2 linemen), but the Ravens frequently used 1-gap pulls in 2017.
• Brown made 5 of 6 blocks in level 2. That’s terrific for a tackle.
• He did not have a pancake as I score them. Collinsworth mentioned a pancake on one play where he pushed his opponent over the downed ballcarrier.
• He twice had fine stunt handoffs with Eluemunor (Q1, 2:26 and Q2, 1:19). Those frequently look messy in the preseason. Ironically, the best for him (Q1, 2:26) came on a play where Griffin was sacked by Irving from the left side.
• He had a nice seal on ILB Anderson on Edwards 16-yard run (Q1, 8:14).
• He drifted 4 yards downfield prior to a pass when Jackson pulled back the handoff (Q4, 10:56). Avoiding Ineligible Receiver Downfield flags can be a challenge for RPO teams.
I expect Brown to continue to struggle with speed rushers. As Ricky Wagner did, he’ll frequently have to use length to compensate and push his assignment past the imaginary “back pylon” of the pocket.
Brown does not have an obvious challenger for the Ravens starting RT job and he did nothing on Thursday to make me believe he won’t be the starter in the opener.