Defensive notes vs. Redskins
In a game as ugly as the Ravens’ loss to the Redskins on Sunday, there are usually a number of plays that might have made the difference between victory and defeat.
In this game, C.J. Mosley’s interception and subsequent touchback fumble stands above all the rest.
In addition to being the difference in the game, the play had repercussions the Ravens felt immediately and may yet feel for weeks due to the fact C.J. was unable to continue. Let’s review:
–While the play was under review, Mosley may have been testing the hamstring (he was later seen jogging on the sidelines), but apparently his departure was not yet certain. I infer that because the Ravens were forced to call a timeout before the next play because Orr had not yet returned to the field, presumably because his helmet was being swapped out for one of the green dot variety.
–The Ravens moved Albert McClellan to ILB, which is a less-than-ideal fit for his defensive talents. At this point in his career, much of Albert’s value comes from playing the edge, a spot where the Ravens could make good use of him in a game they were trailing late in the third quarter. After his move to ILB, Albert made my notes 4 times, twice for being effectively blocked on runs of 12 and 16 yards (his first 2 plays at ILB) and twice for being picked on in coverage for gains of 13 and 8 yards. It’s interesting that the Ravens’ official roster still lists McClellan’s position as ILB. I will be mildly surprised if Albert lines up as a starting ILB next week if Mosley is unable to go.
–After Mosley left, Pees called the dime sub package (Levine next to Orr at ILB) on 10 of the Redskins’ last 23 meaningful snaps, something he’d only done once in 4 games with Mosley healthy. It wasn’t just a case of calling the package 10 times, it’s when he called it. The Redskins had 4 drives after Mosley’s injury, so I’ll just give you the down and distance for the dime:
(Beginning Q3, 6:09): 3/4, 2/9, 3/4
(Q4, 13:35): 2/2
(Q4, 9:18): 1/10, 2/11, 3/1
(Q4, 5:34): 1/10, 2/8, 3/6
Obviously, the offensive personnel play a role in determining what defensive package should be on the field, but against the Ravens, the Redskins still tried to pass versus the dime on 3rd and 1. They also tried a run on a 3rd and 1 play that was negated by a false start, but appeared doomed. In total, the Redskins gained just 3.7 YPP versus the dime as compared to 7.6 YPP on the 13 snaps with McClellan at ILB.
–Other than to guess Orr will wear the green dot, it is difficult to imagine how the Ravens will line up if Mosley is unable to go against the Giants. One thing I feel comfortable saying is that the Ravens will have to rely on sub packages like the dime to a much greater extent.
Pass Rush Metrics
This chart summarizes the Ravens pass rush results by ample time and space (ATS):
Some notes on the rush:
–The results Sunday were streaky. Cousins did not have ATS on any of his first 6 drop backs, but then had 5 straight such opportunities. Later he had a run of 15 of 17 drop backs with ATS.
–The Ravens knocked down Cousins on 6 occasions, which does not constitute the physical beating administered to either McCown or Bortles, but there were several hard QHs.
–In addition to his sack, Terrell Suggs made several other plays in 32 pass snaps, including diagnosis of a screen pass where he forced Cousins to ground the ball (Q2, 14:46). Suggs’ overall snap count also increased to 46 (77% of meaningful snaps).
–Timmy Jernigan also provided some rush value with 3 pressures and a QH in 25 pass snaps.
–Za’Darius Smith did not register even a single pressure as I have it scored in 31 pass snaps. Elvis Dumervil’s single QH in 21 pass snaps was also insufficient. In Dumervil’s case, he had to stunt wide around most of the pass rush activity to register his QH (Q3, 0:24). That’s always good as supplementary value, but if the Ravens need Dumervil to win some 1-on-1 matchups.
–Lawrence Guy had a pressure, but also had a roughing the passer penalty which negated a PD by McClellan.
–The Ravens gave Cousins far too much time in the pocket, but he performed as if he had just an average mix of ATS opportunities. Given the quality of the Redskins receivers, I call that a very good job by the secondary.
The Curious Case of 3rd and 1
The Redskins lined up on 7 occasions for a 3rd-and-1 attempt and converted just once (a 16-yard pass). Cousins otherwise threw 5 incomplete passes and Crowder had a false start (Q4, 2:50) on a late call when the Redskins finally attempted a handoff. To be fair, the Redskins did attempt 2 runs on 4th and 1, and converted 1 of those. The pathological aversion to running the ball is a testament to the ability of the Ravens front 7 to reestablish the line of scrimmage.
A Big Move at Corner
Shareece Wright was benched after allowing 5 touchdowns in the previous 3 games. In his stead, first-year corner Sheldon Price got the start at LCB. That lasted 4 defensive snaps. I didn’t notice Price get hurt, but he was replaced by Tavon Young for the 2nd defensive series (beginning Q2, 14:56).
Young played exceptionally well as the nickel for the first 4 games (65 snaps) and played all 56 of his snaps on the outside versus the Redskins. Here are my notes in racing form:
–(Q2, 7:48): Cousins to Reed PR1 (-2 + 3 YAC) by right sideline. Orr (tackle) and Young converge.
–(Q2, 3:02): On 2nd and 5, Cousins to Reed PM9 (7 + 2 YAC) between right hash and numbers. Reed uses body to shield Young and absorbs big hit from Mosley.
–(Q2, 0:44): Young appears to hand off first receiver, then return to direct Reed OOB on PR6 (4 + 2 YAC).
–(Q3, 13:25): Young stays close with Garcon 30 yards down right sideline, incomplete.
–(Q3, 13:19): On 3rd and 9, tackles Reed PR5 (5 + 0 YAC) to deny conversion.
–(Q3, 0:53): On 2nd and 9, tackles Crowder PR5 (4 + 1 YAC) to bring up 3rd and 4.
–(Q4, 5:34): Soft on Jackson PR6 (4 + 2 YAC).
–(Q4, 2:50): Beaten by a step by Jackson 40 yards down right sideline, but overthrown.
Ideally a corner would never be beaten for a reception, but that usually lasts as long as a 1.000 batting average in baseball. There are a lot of nice things to say about his game:
–He didn’t allow any big plays.
–He didn’t allow any significant YAC and seems to be a fairly sure tackler.
–The Ravens made no attempt to match up Smith with Jackson or Garcon, so Young had a mix of assignments.
Based on the results of this game, I think it’s likely he’ll start at LCB versus the Giants.
Individual Notes (note all snap counts exclude penalties, kneels, and spikes and as such will be lower than other published totals. The Redskins ran 60 such snaps)
Matt Judon and Kamalei Correa were both inactive. This wasn’t a good day to have both a bad pass rush day and a poor day of kick coverage, their respective specialties.
Will Davis was active for the first time this season, but saw action only on special teams.
Shareece Wright went from starter to inactive. Given the propensity for injuries at CB, I will be surprised if he is not needed again this season.
Brent Urban had a season-high 10 snaps. He, Brandon Williams, and Michael Pierce backed up the Redskins’ offensive line significantly on their failed 4th-and-1 run (Q2, 1:28).
Through 5 games (281 meaningful snaps as I define them), the snap counts by defender tell an interesting story. I’ll let you interpret: