BATTLE PLANS: Ravens @ Bengals
1. Buzz Under Green
Since A.J. Green’s first game against Baltimore, he has turned in a banner season, further validating John Harbaugh’s earlier praise that he was “the best receiver in football.”
While that proclamation is debatable, Green is certainly in the discussion. What makes him special is his route-running ability. He can get to any spot on time, and once he’s there, he’s got the wingspan and leaping ability to snag the ball no matter where it is placed.
That being said, it will be important for the defenders to squeeze his catching radius, making it tougher for Dalton to fit the ball in a tight window. This will require the backers to “buzz” underneath on intermediate routes, and the safeties to stay deep and converge on deeper routes.
2. Anticipate the Bag of Tricks
With offensive coordinator Jay Gruden running the show, the Bengals have become more unpredictable. They’ve broken out an assortment of trick plays, including receiver option plays and a mix of reverses and screens. In these instances, the Bengals have been able to spring a big play against their opponents.
The defense needs to stay disciplined and aware, especially on first down – which can often be a favorable down to dial up a trick play.
3. Keep Dalton Guessing
When the Ravens have been successful against Dalton in the past, they’ve been able to bait him into making the wrong decision. Conversely, when they have struggled, Dalton has been able to get a bead on their coverages and fronts.
The Ravens have done a nice job of mixing up their defensive movement against the Bengals, and they will need to keep it up this Sunday. In particular, the delayed blitz was a big part of last Sunday’s game plan and should be in play going forward.
Overall, the Ravens have to keep improving their pre-snap timing heading into the postseason.
For the Offensive Keys and the One-on-one matchup to watch click HERE