Thoughts On The Ravens Additions Of Campbell And Brockers
Thanks to our social distancing it makes for some great time to go back and look at film and really be able to dive into some of the Ravens new additions.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Versatility – He truly lines up everywhere. And he truly makes an impact at every spot. Often he was the lone edge guy, so he can play 5-tech or 3-tech very well. This is going to add a significant tool to Martindale’s belt.
Balance – Campbell uses his lateral quickness and lower body strength to out leverage his opponents.
Awareness – Always seems to mirror the QB or know the play. Could set the edge on the outside, and was still good on backside contain, something the Ravens often lacked last year.
Ability to win one on one on any play– If isolated he can win at any position.
I don’t think there are any cons to Calais Campbell joining the Ravens. But this is a guy clearly worth $15 mill+ against the cap. He’s going to have a tremendous impact on the Ravens if he hasn’t lost a step.
Versatility – He literally lined up in every position of the front 3 for the Rams.
Effective Stunter – Due to his versatility he was a very good stunter. He could still rush the passer from the Wide-9 4/5- tech spot when the OLB came inside. And has a decent swim move to get by OGs if they get caught leaning.
Tremendous Motor – Brockers isn’t a guy that gives up on plays.
Pros and Cons:
Can still win one on one – If Brockers maintains position he can still win inside but he doesn’t do it often, maybe 2 or 3 times a game. I’m hoping more limited snaps in the Ravens system might improve that for him.
Awareness – Brockers seems to have a feel for the play, he doesn’t over pursue, he very much was a system guy in LA. But it feels like he reacts more than he predicts. He won’t get lost on a play but isn’t going an impact creator.
Decent run defense block shedder –Brockers uses his size effectively to peek into the backfield and not get pushed back too far and that allows him to peed off run defense blocks at times. But a lot of times, this was just an arm reach out, so he was credited with tackles but at least 4 times those were contact at the LOS that resulted in 6+ yard gains.
Not really a DT – Though Brockers lined up at NT often, he wouldn’t win inside and he often stunted all the way to the far side. Honestly, he rarely won inside. And rarely could maintain a double team at DT.
Quick but not fast – I think some of this might have been a product of the Rams system. But Brockers went to the edge often and he’s got a good first step and burst which he often used to get outside. But very rarely could Brockers bend or beat help to the outside. I felt he often was 1.5 steps away from making an impact.
I’m wary of the cap number and multi-year commitment to Brockers and I tend to think this his athleticism and versatility are less rare than other fans and media do. That being said, I think Brockers was restricted by the system. The Rams were already trying to create one on one matchups for one guy to win. They did this with a lot of stunting up front and a lot of movement laterally on the line of scrimmage from the DE/DT roles. Brockers did the Rams dirty work in that sense and I think he understood his role in creating space for Donald and widening pass rush lanes across the defensive front.
That is not the way the Ravens play. The Ravens in 2019 used their big bodies to gap control, push the pocket, create deception at the edges, and use numbers to overwhelm the QB. That system change, IMO, will be all the difference for Brockers. If moved more permanently into a LE/RE 3-tech next to Williams, can he absorb double teams when he needs to and win against G’s when given the isolation chance, he’ll be very very good. (Alternately, do the Ravens do something a bit more like what the Rams did next year.)
As a base line, with the way the Ravens blitz, I think his stunting role and quickness is going to have a baseline of 3-4 sacks this year. And I think in that role, he’ll fill the stats sheet in ways we haven’t seen because of his joint addition with Campbell on the DL, which will make the average fan happy. If he can add the dirty work part the way the Ravens currently ask players to do (or the Ravens make a significant adjustment in scheme) this defense will reach the next level.
Jordan Kough, and is a graduate of University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He's a long standing Ravens and Orioles fan of many years. He grew up just north of Baltimore and likes the statistical analysis of games as much as watching games themselves.