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Not that random thoughts on the game

 
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GaTechRavens


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject: Not that random thoughts on the game Reply with quote

- Today's game was proof that play calling doesn't have to fit under a certain category like "predictable" or "not playing to a team's strengths" to be ineffective. The problem with Cam when the Ravens take a big lead is that it feels like he's drawing plays out of a hat. There's no rhyme or reason to it. It's okay to be more conservative when you have a big lead, but you need to have a plan.

- That being said (and this is another long standing trend), Flacco (Cam too, I suppose) has always delivered when points truly needed to be put ont he board. If there's anything about these lackadaisical performances that should reassure us when we face bigger opponents, it's that. It's why we always come out on fire at the beginning of games, and it's why we usually come through in the clutch. As soon as the Browns took the lead, the switch flipped back on. It doesn't excuse blowing the lead in the first place, but it makes me feel a lot more comfortable than I probably should be late in the game. If you want to know why we always win despite the Cam offense, there's your reason. Over the past five years, we've arguably been the most timely team in the league, if that makes sense.

- I do think Flacco plays into that approach as well. We all know he has a different kind of ego than most NFL quarterbacks. It's hard to say that a QB ever plays complacently, but I dare anyone to say he doesn't at times. When he cares, he's hard to stop. When we have a big lead, he's worthless. It's perhaps the best explanation for why a QB with usually underwhelming stats can win so often and come through so often in big moments.

- Ozzie Newsome is downright incredible at finding running backs. You'd have to go back to the '90s to find our last true miss at the position. You can't dislike what you've seen from Bernard Pierce so far. He's one of the most physically unexpectional running backs we've seemed to have in a while, but the man runs with authority. At the very least, a terrific complement for a rookie.

- Torrey Smith has put up his solid stats relatively quietly outside of the New England game, but he came up big today. I hate the word "playmaker," but he really does make plays by himself. Pairing up a receiver who's capable of making catches where others can't and a QB who can throw where others can't is a huge asset.

- How about Bobbie today? He was about ready to be shoved aside, but we saw some of what made him BlaqOptic's man crush for so many years. Even when the offense was pretending to make an effort, the line still did a pretty solid job.

- I won't commend our pass rush for what they did today, but I'd have to say I think their lack of production had more to do with Cleveland's o-line than their own shortcomings. People don't realize just how good they've become. They know about Joe and most know about Alex Mack, but how about Mitchell Schwartz. 2nd round rookie, looks like a stud out there.

- We're going to have to temper our expectations for Terrell Suggs again. This contradicts what I just said about Cleveland's line, but his pass rush arsenal is still diminished fromt he injury. He wasn't explosive - nothing too shocking from Suggs, but still - and even was stumbling at times.

- Outside of a few ridiculous lapses, I think our secondary did better than others think they did. Jimmy's performance was reassuing (and the PI didn't appear to be worthy of a flag at all, but I didn't get to see a replay). We did a tremendous job of defending the middle compared to previous weeks. Not that it was a mismatch to begin with, but given the way tight ends have hurt us in the past (or not - might need statistical context for that), it was pleasant to see defenders glued to the receiver on just about every short throw.

- That being said, those ridiculous lapses still happened. Cary Williams' reaction to an admittedly impressive change of direction by Josh Gordon reminded me of Albert Haynesworth on Monday Night Football. Completely shameful.

- Pees did fine today, though maybe that's just me. We defended the run pretty well (Richardson is quickly becoming something special), our coverage over the middle was very good, and our scheme kept the deep ball in check (emphasis on scheme - Pees can't account for his cornerbacks doings something so stupid, a high school player wouldn't be expected to do it). I really don't think the guy is getting a fair shake. For some reason his "screw yards, I care about points and turnovers" attitude is getting criticized when it's working. But enough of that.

- Justin Tucker is the prototypical kicker of the 2010s. Automatic, but not uniquely so. As great as his success is, pretty much every other kicker in the league can say the same thing.

- Except that one guy.

- Oh, and Brandon Weeden is horrible. There was sort of a bandwagon beginning to grow for him, to the point where his exceedingly mediocre numbers (when taking out the first game) were considered really good, somehow. I never bought into it. Today isn't changing my mind, of course.

- This is way too long for me to proofread. Sorry guys.
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drd23


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Not that random thoughts on the game Reply with quote

GaTechRavens wrote:
- Ozzie Newsome is downright incredible at finding running backs. You'd have to go back to the '90s to find our last true miss at the position.

Admittedly it was before I started following football and the draft that year was atrocious at RB, but - Musa Smith?
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Not that random thoughts on the game Reply with quote

drd23 wrote:
GaTechRavens wrote:
- Ozzie Newsome is downright incredible at finding running backs. You'd have to go back to the '90s to find our last true miss at the position.

Admittedly it was before I started following football and the draft that year was atrocious at RB, but - Musa Smith?


Anthony Allen as well...?
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NJ Raven


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Not that random thoughts on the game Reply with quote

SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
drd23 wrote:
GaTechRavens wrote:
- Ozzie Newsome is downright incredible at finding running backs. You'd have to go back to the '90s to find our last true miss at the position.

Admittedly it was before I started following football and the draft that year was atrocious at RB, but - Musa Smith?


Anthony Allen as well...?


Musa Smith was a 3rd rounder, Allen was a 5th or 6th rounder.
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coordinator0


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Not that random thoughts on the game Reply with quote

NJ Raven wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
drd23 wrote:
GaTechRavens wrote:
- Ozzie Newsome is downright incredible at finding running backs. You'd have to go back to the '90s to find our last true miss at the position.

Admittedly it was before I started following football and the draft that year was atrocious at RB, but - Musa Smith?


Anthony Allen as well...?


Musa Smith was a 3rd rounder, Allen was a 5th or 6th rounder.


7th rounder actually so I wouldn't really count him. If that's the case throw in Cedric Peerman and Allen Patrick too. Probably a couple of others I'm forgetting. Musa Smith would be my guess for the last RB chosen with a quality pick that hasn't panned out. I wonder if the RB coach would be up to taking over as the OC... Think
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wackywabbit


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our offense was incredibly predictable for the middle chuck of that game. Always ran on first. And always some type of go route on 3rd down.

The quick screen to Torrey Smith needs to go, or he needs to learn to get upfield quicker.

Most of all we need better routes for all of our targets. Slants, Comebacks, rubs, something.... They just seem to be running around out there with no real plan for getting open, and they aren't doing it.
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GaTechRavens


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The theme song of the 2012 Ravens
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Mancunian Raven


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:09 am    Post subject: Re: Not that random thoughts on the game Reply with quote

'Bend don't break' did work. Just about. But it only worked because the Browns made a mess of things and had their TD called back. In all likelihood, the defense would have broken several times against a team with a more potent offense than Trent Richardson and Greg Little.

Giving up 100yds to Richardson is an improvement on the season in general (though they only gave up 50yds to him in the first game), so that's not much of an issue, I agree. You can't fix a defensive line completely if you don't have the players. Work in progress.

The Ravens kept total offense down to under 300yds, which is a significant improvement on recent weeks, although again, I think that had a lot to do with the Browns not executing when they really should have.

The thing that is killing the defense, and causing them to give up all those yards, is the complete lack of a pass rush. Weeden had about five minutes to look around the field before picking a pass. And he still missed a boatload of them. The Ravens could have Webb and Darrelle Revis as their starting corners and they wouldn't be able to cover guys for that long.

The first quarter was a blueprint of what the Ravens should be trying to do for entire games. Run the ball, intersperse it with accurate passing, dominate time of possession. Doing that means your defense isn't giving up any yards.

But then in the second quarter, the Browns had the ball for 12 minutes of it. A combination of the offense sputtering and the defense not being able to come up with a stop or a turnover.

The overall time of possession was 31mins to 28, in the Ravens' favour. That's an improvement as well. Red zone efficiency was 100%, which is impressive, but they only converted 5/14 on third down.

There were some good signs in this game, particularly, on reflection, because it was a road game (and we all know how the Ravens dislike those). But I just hope that Harbs and Pees and Cam know they've still got a lot of work to do to get this team into the shape it should be in.

Next week, it's Oakland. They might be missing Darren McFadden, which means they'll be passing it all day. That will be a test for the secondary, if the front seven still can't generate any pressure.
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Flaccomania


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: Not that random thoughts on the game Reply with quote

Mancunian Raven wrote:
'Bend don't break' did work. Just about. But it only worked because the Browns made a mess of things and had their TD called back. In all likelihood, the defense would have broken several times against a team with a more potent offense than Trent Richardson and Greg Little.


I agree with this. While I can't fault Pees for calling a winning game, I feel as though if we were playing any team with a more competent QB, this would have been a very different story. The commentators were even repeatedly showing replays of guys we were leaving wide open running across the middle, and yet all Weeden wanted to do was checkdown. If that were any of the top 15 QBs, I think we'd have all been screaming at the TV all day long. That seems like something we see each week -- guys wide open in the middle, and though we didn't get burned by it yesterday, it was still frustrating to see.

Offensively, I just don't get it. I didn't fault Cam much last week due to the game situation, but this week for the 2nd and 3rd quarters, I just can't help but shake my head.

1st Q: 15 rushes / 22 total plays (68%)
2nd Q: 2 rushes / 8 total plays (25%)
3rd Q: 5 rushes / 12 total plays (42%)
4th Q: 13 rushes / 19 total plays (68%)

I agree with GTR that at times it really feels like Cam is closing his eyes and calling plays. He so desperately wants to throw the ball down the field and as soon as we get a lead, he tries to start airing it out. Then, as soon as we need it, he gets back to what we need to do and we eek out a win. It's frustrating.
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