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  1. #1

    11/12/07 vs. Cincinnati--Ravens Blitz Woes Continue

    The Ravens secondary put up a game effort despite having CMac, Pittman, Rolle, and Sapp all inactive and Ivy injured early. But youve heard all that. To me, the story of this game was been the Ravens failure to convert on their blitzes. Last year was special, but the simple rule of thumb was more people rushing the QB meant fewer yards. As well get to after the numbers, this year has been just the opposite.

    Vs. the Rush
    32 plays, 72 yards, 2.3 YPC
    Best: Bannan 13/18, 1.4
    Worst: Edwards 13/45, 3.5

    Vs. the Pass
    37 plays, 256 yards, 6.9 YPP
    Best: Edwards 11/46, 4.2 YPP, Gaston 12/53, 4.4 YPP
    Worst: Bannan 11/124, 11.3 YPP

    69 plays, 328 yards, 4.8 YPPA
    Best: Gaston 16/59, 3.7 YPPA, Edwards 24/91, 3.8 YPPA
    Worst: Bannan 24/142 5.9 YPPA, Pryce 34/197, 5.8, Barnes 2/34, 17.0

    By number of Pass Rushers
    3: 6 plays, 6 yards, 1.0 YPP, 1 sack
    4: 21/106, 5.0 YPP, 2 sacks
    5: 10/144, 14.4 YPP
    Give Rex credit for not trying any 6 or 7 man pressures in this game.

    By number of Defensive Backs
    3: 1 play, 0 yards (goal line stop on 3rd and 1)
    4: 47/242, 5.1 YPPA
    5: 21/86, 4.1 YPPA, 3 sacks

    Individual Observations:
    Ivy has been a real asset to the Ravens this season. While hell never be a shut down corner, or even one you can leave in true man coverage, hes filled in wherever asked and done a fine job. His play this year in full-time duty should give a good indication to folks how effective a NB he is
    Willie Gaston was effective in 1st game. The Bengals recorded just 2 plays of 10 or more yards with him in the game. He played nickel after Ivy was hurt on the Bengals second drive. Gaston would cover an outside receiver as Prude moved onto the slot.
    Prude saw significant playing time for the first time since week 3 vs. Arizona and was effective on both outside and slot coverage. He racked up 64 plays from scrimmage, a career high. The Bengals seemed to want to throw to his side on their quick outs, but those plays were reasonably well contained.
    Winborne saw his 2nd NFL play, this time on 3rd and goal at the 1 in the Ravens 3-safety goal line alignment.
    Reed did an amazing job of quarterbacking the entire secondary after rumors that he would not play circulated the night before (of curse, if you used the information for deciding which team to bet, you won). He continually moved up and repositioned the young CBs. While hes had many better games statistically (3 tackles and a PD), the fact that the Bengals were held out of the end zone despite the 6 turnovers and JV secondary makes this one of his finest games from my perspective.
    Johnson Missed his first 2 defensive snaps of the year. There is now no Raven that has played every snap (Lewis and Scott have missed 1 each). Johnson was replaced by Barnes in 2 early nickel situations (34 yards). Seeing Johnson called to the sidelines had a certain absurdity to it. Johnson is a more effective pass rusher than Barnes at this point, and is certainly more versatile in terms of scheme, but Im happy to see the Ravens commit to some plays from the youngsters.
    Pryce was effective in pass rush for the 2nd straight game. He got good pressure primarily in the 4-man rush, recorded a late sack, and looks to be back at full strength.
    Bannans game was a microcosm of his season. Another terrific effort vs. the run and a liability vs. the pass. He is now tied with Ngata for the lowest YPC on the team at 2.3, but he has allowed a whopping 8.2 YPP, worst of the linemen and worse than any starter.
    Now what were we talking about? Oh yeah, the blitz. The Bengals picked up the Ravens blitz very well as you can see from the numbers above registering 14.4 YPP with 5 blitzers and 4.2 YPP with 3 or 4. Comparing 2006/2007 in YPP for the season:
    o 3 Rushers: 10.0/4.8 on 23/21 plays (includes plays with less than 3 rushers)
    o 4 Rushers: 5.9/5.7 on 283/140 plays
    o 5 Rushers: 4.4/7.8 on 196/90 plays
    o 6 Rushers: 3.8/11.2 on 51/20 plays
    o 7 Rushers: 3.8/1.6 on 15/8 plays (includes plays with more than 7 rushers)
    o All Passes: 5.3/6.6 on 568/279 plays
    To summarize the obvious, the 2007 Ravens have been much less effective with each additional rusher if you ignore the 8 plays with 7 rushers (or simply include them with the 6-man rushes). Thats in stark contrast to the 2006 Ravens that improved with every additional player they sent after the QB. So whats different from 2006? The pass rush has missed Pryce this season, but the main difference is the secondary. When you rush 5, 6, or 7 men, you are asking your secondary to keep those receivers tightly covered for an extra second or so, primarily in man coverage. You simply cant do that with an overmatched secondary, particularly the Ravens who have not played a single snap with their starting secondary since week 2.

  2. #2

    Re: 11/12/07 vs. Cincinnati--Ravens Blitz Woes Continue

    Good analysis. I agree with your final statement, that the blitzing is obviously less effective with Rolle and C-Mac ailing and out.

    Good to see Pryce is looking good on paper and on the film after than injury.

    I agree with you on Johnson v. Prescott Burgess. But with so many injuries, and the defense being on the field longer than ideal, its good to get the young guys snaps and the vets some rest now and then.

  3. #3

    Re: 11/12/07 vs. Cincinnati--Ravens Blitz Woes Continue

    Quote Originally Posted by Filmstudy View Post
    69 plays, 328 yards, 4.8 YPPA
    Best: Gaston 16/59, 3.7 YPPA, Edwards 24/91, 3.8 YPPA
    I don't know what to say ... not what I would have expected. Good for both of them! :D

    Quote Originally Posted by Filmstudy View Post
    Worst: Bannan 24/142 5.9 YPPA, Pryce 34/197, 5.8, Barnes 2/34, 17.0
    I realize, 2 plays isn't much, but Barnes stats are terrible compared to everyone elses, what happened on those two plays? Was it his fault or did someone else hang him out to dry statwise?

  4. #4

    Re: 11/12/07 vs. Cincinnati--Ravens Blitz Woes Continue

    I agree with your analysis of the overmatched secondary. Certainly having young, inexperienced corners in man coverage leaves us very vulnerable on blitzes. But I think the problems go a little beyond that.

    We have seen far fewer free/untouched rushers this year as compared to last. Opposing QBs have also done a remarkable job getting the ball out quickly (even young QBs ex: Derrick Anderson). I think in the offseason, teams, especially division teams, made a emphasis on picking up our blitz. Almost saying "If we are going to have any success against div. champ Baltimore, we need to counteract their blitz packages". Seems to me that our blitzes have been less exotic (because of the seconday?) and have been consistently stoned. When we do have a free rusher or a collapsing pocket, the ball is coming out in about 2 seconds.


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