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BSL: How to Build a Contender (Part 1)


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#1 BSLMikeRandall

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:13 PM

BSL: http://baltimorespor...ntender-part-1/

 

In this three part series, we'll take a look at one of the most consistent winning franchises, in recent history, that is also similar in a lot of ways to the Ravens. Where have the Ravens gotten off track, how can they get back on it following another model.


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#2 BSLGabeFerguson

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 04:35 PM

I still think the bigger problem is in the FO than coaching.

I'm not saying Ozzie needs to go or anything like that, but maybe take a long hard look at the talent evaluation process.

I don't think it is all that surprising the defense has struggled this year. At the beginning of the year most people would have said Suggs and Jimmy Smith were the best players on the defensive side of the ball. These are supposedly elite players at key positions. Losing Suggs (and McPhee) was devastating to the pass-rush, and Jimmy Smith has struggled massively coming back from foot surgery.

Add in a handful of injuries to secondary depth and regression of players like Daryl Smith and Mosley, especially in pass coverage, and you see a blue print for how a team becomes really bad at slowing down opponents passing attacks. And let's be clear, the inability to stop the pass has been the predominant shortcoming in the Ravens defense. Lack of turnovers and penalties have also killed the team. They are extremely strong vs the run, but guys like Williams, Upshaw, and Canty offer little pass rush.

So I think this does come back to the FO. We all knew OLB depth was a problem before the season started. While the secondary was "addressed" in the offseason, the level of talent brought in was mediocre - once again a question of talent evaluation. The CB drafted in the 4th round has barely seen the field, and last year's 3rd round safety has not proven he is a starting caliber player.
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#3 esporter

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 09:05 AM

I still think the bigger problem is in the FO than coaching.

I'm not saying Ozzie needs to go or anything like that, but maybe take a long hard look at the talent evaluation process.

I don't think it is all that surprising the defense has struggled this year. At the beginning of the year most people would have said Suggs and Jimmy Smith were the best players on the defensive side of the ball. These are supposedly elite players at key positions. Losing Suggs (and McPhee) was devastating to the pass-rush, and Jimmy Smith has struggled massively coming back from foot surgery.

Add in a handful of injuries to secondary depth and regression of players like Daryl Smith and Mosley, especially in pass coverage, and you see a blue print for how a team becomes really bad at slowing down opponents passing attacks. And let's be clear, the inability to stop the pass has been the predominant shortcoming in the Ravens defense. Lack of turnovers and penalties have also killed the team. They are extremely strong vs the run, but guys like Williams, Upshaw, and Canty offer little pass rush.

So I think this does come back to the FO. We all knew OLB depth was a problem before the season started. While the secondary was "addressed" in the offseason, the level of talent brought in was mediocre - once again a question of talent evaluation. The CB drafted in the 4th round has barely seen the field, and last year's 3rd round safety has not proven he is a starting caliber player.

 

Shouldn't the defensive coordinator have to take some responsibility when a bunch of players we think are really good start regressing? 

 

It's not like a lot of guys on defense are playing great and it's just CJ who's struggling. Pretty much everyone out there looks like they have no idea what they're doing when the other team decides to throw the ball. 

 

I agree, losing Suggs hurts a lot. Not having McPhee around hurts a lot. Jimmy coming off an injury isn't ideal. But the unit shouldn't have to be loaded at every position to be respectable. 

 

The only time Dean Pees defense has looked good was before the secondary got decimated last year and we had not 1, not 2, but 3 stud pass rushers terrorizing QBs. I'm sorry, but that's a luxury you're not going to have very often. 

 

I think Dean has proven that he's really nothing more than an average to below average coordinator. We need better than that.


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#4 ShawnBrubaker

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 09:31 AM

Totally agree with the negative diagnosis of Dean Pees. There remain some inexplicable fans who support him, saying, "It's not his fault about the miscommunications... It's not his fault about the poor technique." Who teaches them their technique? Who is in charge of communication? And these aren't just new guys struggling with communication. We have seen Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb look every bit as lost as the new guys. Something Pees is doing is throwing off the communication in the secondary.

 

Also, we have seen Jimmy Smith progress from one of the worst corners in the league with the ball in the air to one of the better ones. We saw it several times early this season: Even when Smith was getting toasted, he could at least play the ball in the air. The past few weeks, he has lost it. Can't turn his head, can't track the ball, only knows how to face guard. What kind of coach lets a guy who has come so far regress like that?

 

As for Trestman, I don't have a huge problem with him, but I wonder if Flacco did. There were times Flacco looked upset with a playcall, and he hasn't been super outspoken in support of him. This isn't a scheme built for Flacco, who does his best work under center working play action passes and moving around outside the pocket. Promises to make few changes to Kubiak's scheme have rung hollow. This is Trestman's scheme, with lots of shot gun and minimal running. There are individual play calls that make no sense with Trestman, but that's every coordinator. All the fans who keep calling for halfback dives on third-and-1 with the 195-pound Justin Forsett should probably rethink their position.

 

As for Harbaugh, I wouldn't fire him this offseason, but I would put him on the hotseat. If I were Bisciotti, I'd give him two challenges for next year: finish over .500 and finish in the top half in the league in fewest penalty yards. Make penalties a priority, they are killing this team, and Harbaugh needs to take responsibility for it. I don't care if Elvis Dumervil is your best player on defense. If he makes a boneheaded mistake like grabbing the QB's facemask, he should be out for the next drive. Hold players accountable. It's the only way that changes can be made. On the plus side, now that Asa Jackson has been cut, the personal fouls on special teams should be cut in half.


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#5 BSLGabeFerguson

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 02:01 PM

I watch the Ravens every week. I Watch them on the All-22 after the games are over. There is a severe lack of execution by players at every level of the defense. Blitzers hitting the wrong gap, dumb penalties, missed tackles, blown coverages. There are multiple major errors on the field every single week.

 

Pees has led good defensive units for 2 years straight before this year. He orchestrated an elite pass-rush to help cover for a secondary that was beyond bad. All of a sudden it's his fault that Jimmy Smith isn't the same player? If it's Pees fault that Smith sucks now, it was also Pees that gets credit for his development and emergence as a top CB prior to 2015 right? I think in reality, it's injury related for Smith, but he is playing and unfortunately not playing well at all.

 

I don't see how anyone can look at the talent the Ravens put on the field and blame the coaching. There is a severe lack in playmaking at every level of the defense.

 

It starts with the pass-rush, or lack there-of. No one on the DL can generate a consistent pass-rush besides Dumervil, and he can't do it by himself all game/every week. Pees has been forced to blitz at a much higher rate to get any type of pressure on the QB. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that blitzing puts more strain on players in coverage.

 

Let's look at the ILBs who are tasked with covering the middle of the field. Can anyone say with a straight face that any LB on the Ravens is good at covering TEs or RBs in man? Are they dynamic in zone coverage? The answer is no. The LBs are a liability in coverage. They all are - Mosley, Smith, Orr, McClellan.

 

In the secondary it's not much better. Shareece Wright has played like the Ravens best coverage guy, and he has had some major blunders. Jimmy Smith has been bad. There is no denying that at this point. Webb is decent in zone, but he is small and gives up a lot of catches. Will Hill has been very good this year, especially in man coverage on TEs, but he has had lapses in coverage as well just like the TD that he gave up last night to Benjamin. 

 

So how does anyone expect to the defense to be better against the pass? They struggle to create pressure outside of blitzing (which Pees does a lot and does it creatively). The LBs are bad in coverage, and the secondary is mediocre at best.

 

It doesn't matter the the Ravens are excellent at run defense because no one even tries to run the ball. 

 

In the end it is at the feet of the DC to get his unit to play better. There might be things that he could do differently, but I doubt the outcomes would change in any significant way. I understand the desire to try something different, but the defense lacks talent where it is needed most in today's NFL. 


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#6 bnickle

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 04:25 PM

I watch the Ravens every week. I Watch them on the All-22 after the games are over. There is a severe lack of execution by players at every level of the defense. Blitzers hitting the wrong gap, dumb penalties, missed tackles, blown coverages. There are multiple major errors on the field every single week.

Pees has led good defensive units for 2 years straight before this year. He orchestrated an elite pass-rush to help cover for a secondary that was beyond bad. All of a sudden it's his fault that Jimmy Smith isn't the same player? If it's Pees fault that Smith sucks now, it was also Pees that gets credit for his development and emergence as a top CB prior to 2015 right? I think in reality, it's injury related for Smith, but he is playing and unfortunately not playing well at all.

I don't see how anyone can look at the talent the Ravens put on the field and blame the coaching. There is a severe lack in playmaking at every level of the defense.

It starts with the pass-rush, or lack there-of. No one on the DL can generate a consistent pass-rush besides Dumervil, and he can't do it by himself all game/every week. Pees has been forced to blitz at a much higher rate to get any type of pressure on the QB. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that blitzing puts more strain on players in coverage.

Let's look at the ILBs who are tasked with covering the middle of the field. Can anyone say with a straight face that any LB on the Ravens is good at covering TEs or RBs in man? Are they dynamic in zone coverage? The answer is no. The LBs are a liability in coverage. They all are - Mosley, Smith, Orr, McClellan.

In the secondary it's not much better. Shareece Wright has played like the Ravens best coverage guy, and he has had some major blunders. Jimmy Smith has been bad. There is no denying that at this point. Webb is decent in zone, but he is small and gives up a lot of catches. Will Hill has been very good this year, especially in man coverage on TEs, but he has had lapses in coverage as well just like the TD that he gave up last night to Benjamin.

So how does anyone expect to the defense to be better against the pass? They struggle to create pressure outside of blitzing (which Pees does a lot and does it creatively). The LBs are bad in coverage, and the secondary is mediocre at best.

It doesn't matter the the Ravens are excellent at run defense because no one even tries to run the ball.

In the end it is at the feet of the DC to get his unit to play better. There might be things that he could do differently, but I doubt the outcomes would change in any significant way. I understand the desire to try something different, but the defense lacks talent where it is needed most in today's NFL.

So if it's talent, which is something I've said from the jump, how did you think they were an 11-12 win SB contender? Or even a playoff contender 5 weeks into the year?

It's still a combination. The talent is lacking, but I don't think they are being coached up particularly well either.

#7 BaltBird 24

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 04:35 PM

So if it's talent, which is something I've said from the jump, how did you think they were an 11-12 win SB contender? Or even a playoff contender 5 weeks into the year?

It's still a combination. The talent is lacking, but I don't think they are being coached up particularly well either.

 

Obviously losing Suggs was a huge loss to the entire defense, and it all just snowballed from there. 

 

Also, I don't think anyone expected Jimmy Smith to have as bad a year as he has had, coupled with Kedrick Lewis and Kyle Arrington not meeting expectations. 

 

Would have liked to seen a little more impact from the D Line, as well..... Jernigan in particular. 



#8 BSLGabeFerguson

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 10:42 PM

So if it's talent, which is something I've said from the jump, how did you think they were an 11-12 win SB contender? Or even a playoff contender 5 weeks into the year?

It's still a combination. The talent is lacking, but I don't think they are being coached up particularly well either.

Losing Suggs was a huge blow. Best defensive player on the team. He set the tone for the defense and was a dominant player in all phases. I also didn't expect Jimmy Smith to regress like he did. He looks nothing like he did in 13'-14' before the foot injury.

 

So losing your best player, and having your arguably second best player turn into a liability means the pass defense is going to suffer. It hasn't helped that Daryl Smith has lost about 3 steps in pass coverage and Mosley has never been good in coverage. 

 

A team that can't cover and can't rush the passer is going to struggle on defense.

 

All that said the team has still played better than their record indicates. That's a mark of good coaching. The offense had talent before the injuries started to pile up. There have been a number of bad breaks. If the Refs hadn't messed up the Jags game, they would be 5-6 in the midst of a 4 game winning streak.


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#9 bnickle

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 10:45 PM

They haven't played better than their record. The Jags loss was easily replaced by the Steelers win. We lost to the Browns at home. We beat Stl by 3 on a game winning kick. We should have never been in that position against Jags at home.
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#10 BSLGabeFerguson

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 11:08 PM

They haven't played better than their record. The Jags loss was easily replaced by the Steelers win. We lost to the Browns at home. We beat Stl by 3 on a game winning kick. We should have never been in that position against Jags at home.

Also almost beat the Broncos if not for a bad no-call on the last play. Should have beaten the Raiders, but once again a bad call screwed the team. Went toe to toe against the Cardinals on the road, got screwed by several bad calls. We have been in every single game to the end.

 

Completely objective measures like DVOA has us rated as 14th best team in the NFL, and has consistently had as ranked in the middle of the pack all year. ELO has us at 14th as well ahead of teams like Giants, Bears, Falcons, Jets, Skins that all have better records.


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