This post is going to be a weekly thing that I'll try and write-up after each game. I have my duties over at SB Nation Kansas City but this kind of post is more to create a conversation so I'll be writing this over here each week. It's not going to be at a Kalo or Bewsaf-level breakdown so don't get your hopes up, but for all of you out there that DVR the games or have the NFL.com rewind or preseason package, it will give you a chance to look at some plays I've picked out and discuss your thoughts.
I have selected six offensive plays and six defensive plays that I thought would be good to take a closer look at. They'll be in two separate posts and we'll start with the defense. Considering I watched about every play about seven times tonight, I think I've picked out some plays that we might be able to learn something about our guys. These aren't just your regular highlight plays, although some are pretty good. I also won't try and only pick out the positive plays because watching plays that the guys struggle could tell us just as much as a highlight reel catch or tackle.
I will try and be as descriptive as I can for those who don't have access to the games at this time.
1. 1st and 10 with 10:52 left in the first quarter
This is actually Baltimore's first offensive play. I didn't take long in finding a play that I liked what I saw. I tend to focus on the guys who are doing their jobs, but not necessarily making the stat lines. This is a run play to the left for the Ravens. You'll notice that Glenn Dorsey locks up with Michael Oher and shadows him right down the LOS and doesn't get driven down the field. Too many times you'll see a defensive end give ground and create lanes for the running back. Tamba Hali also did a great job as well locking up with the defender and holding his ground. This allows Jovan Belcher to not be washed out of the play and gives him a chance to make a play. This would be an example of a 3/4 DE doing his job without getting a statistic.
2. 1st and 10 with 9:02 left in the first quarter
Baltimore is lined up in a double TE, I formation set with Anquan Boldin coming in motion back towards Flacco. His job is to cut off the backside pursuit on this run play to the right. As soon as Boldin, who is covered by Flowers, goes in motion, Berry comes up from about seven yards deep off the TE to about 4 yards off the LOS. Berry quickly diagnoses the run and gets into the backfield. Rather than running around 6'0 255lb fullback Vonta Leach, he puts his shoulders down and goes right after the lead blocker in the backfield. He completely blew up the play and it netted a loss for Rice and the Ravens. What should also be noticed on this play is Kelly Gregg's awareness and agility (yes, agility). The LG attempts a cutblock and Gregg does a great job of staying on his feet and being aware of the blocker. He makes the play that Berry set him up for.
3. Favorite play of the night (mainly because of the NFL rewind angle) - 3rd and 10 with 6 minutes left in 1st quarter.
The play resulted in an incomplete pass to Ed Dickson. At first glance you'll probably remember this play as one of the times Kendrick Lewis came on a blitz and ran by Flacco. But there was a lot more going on with this play and I invite you, if you have it available, to watch this play on NFL.com preseason's package.
Baltimore is set up in the shotgun on the far hash with Rice in the backfield on Flacco's left side. Lee Evans is at the top and Ed Dickson is on the near side about two yards from the tackle. Boldin is in motion running away from the ball right past Dickson. Cameron Sheffield is lined up square on Dickson and Jon McGraw is right off Dickson's inside shoulder next to Sheffield. Allen Bailey is right next to McGraw between the tackle and guard. Gilberry is between the center and guard on the opposite side, while Derrick Johnson is coming in right between the guard and tackle on the right side. Tamba is at the top running the tackle up-field (on purpose). When the ball is snapped, Bailey, Gilberry and Johnson all run at the right shoulder of the guys in front of them causing the OL to shift to the right. Sheffield lets Dickson run to the inside and McGraw shuffles across the field in front of a crossing Dickson.
As all of these guys are running off the blockers right shoulders, and Tamba runs the tackle up the field, a gap is created between the right guard and tackle and that's right where Lewis is headed. It was set up perfectly and McGraw's timing was perfect because Flacco's hot-read when he saw Lewis coming was Dickson on a cross, but McGraw had slid in front of this route and Flacco almost threw the ball right to him. Rather, he pumped and ended up throwing it to Dickson off-timing and resulted in an incomplete pass. The play design and execution was perfect. Give Flacco credit for not throwing that ball, but still was a positive result on 3rd down.
4. This is a play that most people will remember that saw the game. 2nd and 9 with 13:54 left in 3rd quarter.
This was two of our rookies making a play against Baltimore's first string offense, which resulted in a 3 and out to start the second half. Justin Houston comes off the edge and gets in Flacco's face a little quicker than they would have like on this attempted screen pass to Ricky Williams. Seeing that Flacco had a tip his hand a mili-second early, Jerrel Powe recognizes the screen and re-directs his attention to Williams and chases him down from behind. This will be Powe's highlight reel so far, much better than his 20-yard downfield tackle that, well.....was 20 yards down field. This was just as athletic and actually resulted in a 3-yard loss. If you want to see effort, awareness and skill from the big-man Powe, watch this play. Better yet, wait for Bfett's video because it's coming on that play.
5. Justin Houston and Cameron Sheffield getting after the quarterback on consecutive plays
With less than a minute to play in the third quarter, the Ravens were backed up deep in their own territory. On 2nd and 10 Justin Houston showed a nice motor coming off the right tackle and brought Tyrod Taylor down on the two yard line for a sack. Taylor couldn't find anyone to get the ball to quickly and Houston made him pay. On the very next play Cameron Sheffield blew by the left tackle and nearly sacked Taylor in the endzone for a safety. The linebacker position was thought to be a question mark heading into this preseason, but so far things have looked very good from Houston and Sheffield. They are showing a good burst and an ability to get to the quarterback.
6. 1st and 10 from the Chiefs yard line.
They weren't all going to be positive plays ya know? The Chiefs were leading 13-10 when Jalen Parmele ran it in from 10 yards to give the Ravens the 17-13 lead. Reshard Langford is not going to want to watch film of this play. And for those of you that believe that its either McGraw or Langford for the 53-man roster, this play could be telling. Maybe not because it was just one play, but if you're going to try and arm tackle a guy right in front of you, make sure the game isn't on the line. Langford had an easy shot at Parmele and completely screwed the pooch on this one. It's tough to watch and I know, because I watched it about 10 times to make sure I was seeing it correct. It was awful and I warn you before you watch it. Say what you want about McGraw, but I don't think he misses that tackle. Just my two cents.
There it is folks, my attempt at breaking down some plays. Any thoughts on any of these plays or any others you remember from the game? And hopefully when they were so we can all enjoy :)
I should have the offensive post for Monday. We'll see how this one goes first.