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coordinator0


Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
I absolutely disagree. For a 3-4 you need speed at OLB and ILB. I could care less about our interior guys, but we don't have ANY speed at linebacker other than Ellerbe. Suggs is slow (because of his achilles, he might be faster next year but who knows), Upshaw is slow, McClellan is slow, Kruger is slow, Jameel and Ayan are slow. When you look at TRUE 3-4 defenses (Pittsburgh, SF, SD, ARI, WAS), they have speed at almost all the LB positions, and we simply don't have that.

The days of dual-threat QB's are rapidly approaching and our defense is stuck in the old school mode of having big, strong guys who can stop the run instead of athletic freaks who can do both.


I assume you're talking about the last point I made. I'm not disagree with you that the LBs on the team are slow although I think that Suggs and Upshaw are average. McClellan too. They're not plus speed guys but they're not below average in that area either. Kruger definitely isn't slow. I don't know if you've noticed but Pittsburgh's LBs are easily slower that Baltimore's LBs. Harrison and Woodley are both power guys and the only one with speed is Timmons. San Diego isn't much better and Washington's defense isn't good anyways so that's just not a good example to use. I'm not as familiar with Arizona as I am with the others.

Then you have to consider how much of a speed boost the Ravens can really expect in the front seven. Like I said before they're fine along the DL for a team that runs a base 3-4 and any upgrade there would probably be insignificant. Suggs isn't going to be coming off the field much any time soon and Upshaw is probably in line for a more consistent level of snaps. If Ellerbe is back then there's only one spot left open. Even if he isn't re-signed then the team still needs a more physical ILB to take his place and those types of guys usually aren't known for their speed unless they're elite.

I really hope they get a faster ILB to pair with Ellerbe/whoever and that's why I'm particularly high on Brown and Greene in the draft but I'm not expecting a huge upgrade in that area. They could get some depth guys that have a lot of speed but I question how much they would actually help given the small percentage of snaps they see. I stick to what I said earlier - an ILB or two (depending on what happens with Ellerbe) with some speed would be enough. An athletic pass-rusher too since I forgot to mention it before. With Kruger likely being gone they need another guy that can get to the QB and Baltimore has enough guys that are more in the bull-rusher mold.
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BaltimoreTerp


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely think that our front 7 could use an infusion of some speed/athleticism, as there were definite times last season when we just seemed a step too slow in pursuit. It's not like anyone ever prefers a slow player over a fast one.

But I don't think it's as simple as thinking that drafting or bringing in some faster guys will make this defense better. A fast player who can't shed blocks is at as much of a disadvantage as a player who lacks the quickness to accelerate through a gap and make a play. Ozzie has always built this defense with an eye towards competing and winning in the AFC North, and when you combine that with the fact that other teams tend to fall in love with/overvalue 40 times, it's easy to see why we end up with players like Upshaw. When you're drafting as consistently low as we do, you rarely get a shot at the athletic freaks who combine ideal speed with ideal strength. San Francisco got Aldon Smith with the 7th pick in the draft and Patrick Willis with the 11th pick. Dion Jordan will go in the first 10 to 15 picks this year. Jason Pierre Paul accomplished next to nothing in college and still went with the 15th pick based on measurables. If a player with "freakish" athletic qualities does make it down the draft board to a slot where the Ravens pick, it usually means they have some sort of major red flag on their resume, be it outstanding character concerns, injury issues, low football IQ, or a lack of their athletic abilities having translated at all into production on the field during their college career.

You can't just conjure an 'athletic freak' out of thin air. The can't-misses go before the Ravens are ever up to pick, so what we're left with is picking players from a more flawed pool. If they have speed, they often lack ideal strength. If they have bulk and technique, they may lack explosion with their first step. Since the rest of the league has trended towards privileging speed guys, it tends to be that Ozzie snaps up guys like Courtney Upshaw because he sees good value for where they're picked to get someone who is so fundamentally sound and 'hard-nosed.' Toughness isn't just an empty platitude for Ozzie, he seeks out players with the gumption to fight in the trenches (rather than relying on athleticism to avoid those one-on-one battles) because particularly in the division we play in, those are the battles that your defenders are going to have to fight more often than not. The Ravens believe (and have shown) that you can make up for team speed by playing with superior power, showing elevated cohesion as a unit, and staying disciplined.

It's not like we haven't tried to inject further athleticism and speed into our front 7. But those kinds of players for the most part didn't work out, such as Tavares Gooden or Sergio Kindle. On our roster right now McAdoo hasn't stayed healthy but he represents a developmental attempt at manufacturing a more athletic linebacker, as does the even more intriguing Adrian Hamilton (who could yet play a role with this team). As far as ILB is concerned, with the depth at the position there seems to be in the draft, combined with our need at the position and the fact that the ILB position has trended towards devaluement league-wide, I think it's more likely that we see an athletic type slip to us in the 1st or 2nd round.
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BaltimoreTerp


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On another note, I'm watching the NFL Films production on the Super Bowl and thought it was very cool that as the Ravens defense was getting ready to go on to the field immediately before the Ed Reed pick, Harbs told Ed that he was going to see a play-action shot downfield and that he was going to have a chance to pick it, which was then exactly what happened.

Not bad for a figurehead cheerleader.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coordinator0 wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
I absolutely disagree. For a 3-4 you need speed at OLB and ILB. I could care less about our interior guys, but we don't have ANY speed at linebacker other than Ellerbe. Suggs is slow (because of his achilles, he might be faster next year but who knows), Upshaw is slow, McClellan is slow, Kruger is slow, Jameel and Ayan are slow. When you look at TRUE 3-4 defenses (Pittsburgh, SF, SD, ARI, WAS), they have speed at almost all the LB positions, and we simply don't have that.

The days of dual-threat QB's are rapidly approaching and our defense is stuck in the old school mode of having big, strong guys who can stop the run instead of athletic freaks who can do both.


I assume you're talking about the last point I made. I'm not disagree with you that the LBs on the team are slow although I think that Suggs and Upshaw are average. McClellan too. They're not plus speed guys but they're not below average in that area either. Kruger definitely isn't slow. I don't know if you've noticed but Pittsburgh's LBs are easily slower that Baltimore's LBs. Harrison and Woodley are both power guys and the only one with speed is Timmons. San Diego isn't much better and Washington's defense isn't good anyways so that's just not a good example to use. I'm not as familiar with Arizona as I am with the others.

Then you have to consider how much of a speed boost the Ravens can really expect in the front seven. Like I said before they're fine along the DL for a team that runs a base 3-4 and any upgrade there would probably be insignificant. Suggs isn't going to be coming off the field much any time soon and Upshaw is probably in line for a more consistent level of snaps. If Ellerbe is back then there's only one spot left open. Even if he isn't re-signed then the team still needs a more physical ILB to take his place and those types of guys usually aren't known for their speed unless they're elite.

I really hope they get a faster ILB to pair with Ellerbe/whoever and that's why I'm particularly high on Brown and Greene in the draft but I'm not expecting a huge upgrade in that area. They could get some depth guys that have a lot of speed but I question how much they would actually help given the small percentage of snaps they see. I stick to what I said earlier - an ILB or two (depending on what happens with Ellerbe) with some speed would be enough. An athletic pass-rusher too since I forgot to mention it before. With Kruger likely being gone they need another guy that can get to the QB and Baltimore has enough guys that are more in the bull-rusher mold.


There's a difference between straight-line speed and open field speed. Our linebackers have decent straight-line "rush the passer" speed, which is fine for a 4-3 defense, but we have NOBODY who can play in space. Kruger embarrasses himself in space, Sizzle is great in space when his legs are 100%, and Upshaw is average in space, as is McCllelan, but none of them have the ability to play the linebacker position EXCEPT Dannell Ellerbe.

That's the point I was trying to make. We have no coverage linebackers or linebackers who can roam in space or even chase down a mobile QB.
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dcarey20


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nevermore wrote:
dcarey20 wrote:
GaTechRavens wrote:
http://www.footballsfuture.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=287798&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Good times, man. Good times.


best thread ever

I prefer the Bulger thread.


link?

nvm, found it, assuming it's the one where Mike Preston said Bulger was better than Flacco and other team's fans came in and trolled Flacco as usual.
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coordinator0


Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
There's a difference between straight-line speed and open field speed. Our linebackers have decent straight-line "rush the passer" speed, which is fine for a 4-3 defense, but we have NOBODY who can play in space. Kruger embarrasses himself in space, Sizzle is great in space when his legs are 100%, and Upshaw is average in space, as is McCllelan, but none of them have the ability to play the linebacker position EXCEPT Dannell Ellerbe.

That's the point I was trying to make. We have no coverage linebackers or linebackers who can roam in space or even chase down a mobile QB.


Kruger embarrasses himself in space? He was probably the best coverage LB on the team (which sucks because he was also the best pass-rusher). I agree with Upshaw and McClellan being average, which is what I said before, but definitely not Kruger. It's hard to tell with Suggs at the moment. He's never really been a "fast" guy but like you said he was still really good in space before the Achilles injury. I'd actually feel more comfortable if he was coming off an ACL injury.

I realize there's a difference between straight-line speed and having speed with COD abilities. That's why I wasn't throwing out 40 times (not that they are all that relevant anyways in my opinion). I'm just not too worried about the speed in the front seven as long as they get an ILB or two in the draft that has some range. A pass-rusher too but I think it's a given you would always want an athletic pass-rusher opposed to a guy that relies more on power/leverage. They just have more upside than the latter.

I'm not disagreeing with your last point either, but that can be solved with an ILB or two. An OLB isn't going to be spying the QB or dropping back into coverage too often. The guys that play there are either rushing the passer or setting the edge. At the most they drop into short zones.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coordinator0 wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
There's a difference between straight-line speed and open field speed. Our linebackers have decent straight-line "rush the passer" speed, which is fine for a 4-3 defense, but we have NOBODY who can play in space. Kruger embarrasses himself in space, Sizzle is great in space when his legs are 100%, and Upshaw is average in space, as is McCllelan, but none of them have the ability to play the linebacker position EXCEPT Dannell Ellerbe.

That's the point I was trying to make. We have no coverage linebackers or linebackers who can roam in space or even chase down a mobile QB.


Kruger embarrasses himself in space? He was probably the best coverage LB on the team (which sucks because he was also the best pass-rusher)

Absolutely false! Where are you getting this from?

I agree with Upshaw and McClellan being average, which is what I said before, but definitely not Kruger. It's hard to tell with Suggs at the moment. He's never really been a "fast" guy but like you said he was still really good in space before the Achilles injury. I'd actually feel more comfortable if he was coming off an ACL injury.

I realize there's a difference between straight-line speed and having speed with COD abilities. That's why I wasn't throwing out 40 times (not that they are all that relevant anyways in my opinion). I'm just not too worried about the speed in the front seven as long as they get an ILB or two in the draft that has some range. A pass-rusher too but I think it's a given you would always want an athletic pass-rusher opposed to a guy that relies more on power/leverage. They just have more upside than the latter.

That's the thing, we've had athletic pass-rushers in the past and NONE of them have either panned out, or we've releasedt/traded them away. It's nice to have a mix of speed and power, but right now we are pure power and the NFL is moving away from those kinds of LB'ers and you need speed guys - we don't have that.

I'm not disagreeing with your last point either, but that can be solved with an ILB or two. An OLB isn't going to be spying the QB or dropping back into coverage too often. The guys that play there are either rushing the passer or setting the edge. At the most they drop into short zones.

Well it depends on what defense you're playing. In a 3-4 defense, certainly your OLB's will be dropping into coverage and they need to be able to move in space - something that only Terrell Suggs seems to be able to do, effectively, at least.

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coordinator0


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
Absolutely false! Where are you getting this from?


Actually watching them play. If Kruger wasn't then who was? It certainly wasn't any of the ILBs or Upshaw.

Quote:
That's the thing, we've had athletic pass-rushers in the past and NONE of them have either panned out, or we've releasedt/traded them away. It's nice to have a mix of speed and power, but right now we are pure power and the NFL is moving away from those kinds of LB'ers and you need speed guys - we don't have that.


I'm not sure who you're referring to here. Kindle kind of fits the description but his freak head injury skews things a lot. Barnes might too but I don't think there were high expectations for him in the first place. I don't know what you're getting at here either. The Ravens will need another pass-rusher if Kruger walks, and a more athletic guy is probably what most of us prefer.

Quote:
Well it depends on what defense you're playing. In a 3-4 defense, certainly your OLB's will be dropping into coverage and they need to be able to move in space - something that only Terrell Suggs seems to be able to do, effectively, at least.


In Baltimore's 3-4 the OLBs aren't dropping back into coverage all that much though. At least not since Mattison left.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1.) Kruger is a joke in open space. I've literally never seen him make a good play in coverage other than 2 years ago against Pittsburgh. He was burned in the Superbowl, burned a couple of times against Indy, and I'm sure I could go back during the season as well. If you have counterxamples please feel free to show them.

2.) Agreed. My examples were Barnes and Kindle.

3.) So then we need to still find linebackers who can play in space unless we just want to lineup in dime coverages all the time.
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coordinator0


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
1.) Kruger is a joke in open space. I've literally never seen him make a good play in coverage other than 2 years ago against Pittsburgh. He was burned in the Superbowl, burned a couple of times against Indy, and I'm sure I could go back during the season as well. If you have counterxamples please feel free to show them.


We'll have to agree to disagree then. I don't see it.

Quote:
2.) Agreed. My examples were Barnes and Kindle.

3.) So then we need to still find linebackers who can play in space unless we just want to lineup in dime coverages all the time.


Yes, ILBs. A couple of those and the Ravens will be fine.
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Flaccomania


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kruger definitely wasn't a "joke" in space. He was solid but not spectacular. He was by far our best cover LB though.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flaccomania wrote:
Kruger definitely wasn't a "joke" in space. He was solid but not spectacular. He was by far our best cover LB though.


Not better than Suggs. Not better than Ellerbe. Not even better than Ayanbadejo.
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gooselovechild


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
1.) Kruger is a joke in open space. I've literally never seen him make a good play in coverage other than 2 years ago against Pittsburgh. He was burned in the Superbowl, burned a couple of times against Indy, and I'm sure I could go back during the season as well. If you have counterxamples please feel free to show them.


Are 270 pound guys supposed to be great in open space?

I agree wholeheartedly with the broader point that we need to be faster and more athletic in the front 7, but the path you're taking there is confusing me.
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wackywabbit


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kruger's coverage never stood out as particularly bad to me, either.

I don't think we were as bad defending TEs/slot receivers as people seem to think. We were definitely above average in that zone, and getting Webb back should help even more.

I'm more concerned about getting an ILB who can shed blocks and bring our run D back to shape. (A major upgrade at NT is needed for that too).
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coordinator0


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wackywabbit wrote:
Kruger's coverage never stood out as particularly bad to me, either.

I don't think we were as bad defending TEs/slot receivers as people seem to think. We were definitely above average in that zone, and getting Webb back should help even more.

I'm more concerned about getting an ILB who can shed blocks and bring our run D back to shape. (A major upgrade at NT is needed for that too).


They weren't bad against TEs (the numbers in particular are really good, opposing TEs only had 68 receptions for 818 yards and 2 TDs in the regular season) but you can tell that all of the ILBs struggles to match up against anybody. Getting Webb back should with slot receivers but then again maybe not. Since it's highly unlikely Williams will be back they're losing one of their boundary CBs and I think that's where Webb will line up the most with Graham in the slot. Baltimore needs some help covering the middle of the field.
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