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BareYourTeeth


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who do you guys think would be a better replacement at center, Jensen or Shipley? It'd be wise to figure it out now with the bye week coming up.

The predictable play calling may be what's hurting the team the most right now. We're not even giving them a chance running it, all but once or twice, every time on first down.
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coordinator0


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shipley will get the first chance if Gradkowski is benched. Jensen isn't even healthy yet. Maybe Shipley was just uncomfortable at LG when Osemele went out but given his performance I don't have high hopes for him either.
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BareYourTeeth


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He wasn't that much better pass blocking but his run blocking was an improvement. No doubt.
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coordinator0


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BareYourTeeth wrote:
He wasn't that much better pass blocking but his run blocking was an improvement. No doubt.


Shipley wasn't better at all in pass protection. Of course compared to Gradkowski it might be a different story but he wasn't very good at all.
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Mancunian Raven


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jensen can't be ready to start in the NFL. No way. There is just too much stacked against him at this moment in time. As I said in the gameday, thread, he's a 6th round pick from a small school who hasn't practiced since the early weeks of Training Camp.

He might become a decent Center or Guard in the future, but I just cannot see it this year.

And Shipley was worse than Gradkowski in the pre-season, so I'm not optimistic there either. He seems more aggressive than Gradkowski, which would be nice to see, especially in the run game. But I feel that if he'd been showing anything in practice to suggest he's a better option than Gradkowski, we'd have seen him play there by now. Gradkowski just isn't getting any better, and in fact seems to be getting worse.
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BareYourTeeth


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coordinator0 wrote:
BareYourTeeth wrote:
He wasn't that much better pass blocking but his run blocking was an improvement. No doubt.


Shipley wasn't better at all in pass protection. Of course compared to Gradkowski it might be a different story but he wasn't very good at all.


That's who I was comparing him to, not KO. Like I said, his pass protection isn't impressive but his run blocking is better than Gino's.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't care who starts at center as long as Gradkowski is benched. Dude is beyond terrible. Makes me really question what people saw in him the past couple of years.
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BlaqOptic wrote:
I'd say he's [Dennis Pitta] the fourth best TE in the division... Cameron > Miller > Gresham > Eiffert = Pitta
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Mancunian Raven


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder how much of Moeller's reputation is tied up in Gradkowski succeeding. Osemele too, but to a lesser degree because we've seen him play well last season.

Moeller has had Gradkowski for a year, and had Matt Birk as the perfect example and mentor for the rookie. And this is what we've ended up with. Something doesn't add up, somewhere.

I still wonder at the fact the Ravens appear to have two O-line coaches. Is the message being garbled? The scheme appears less than ideal, that's for sure.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mancunian Raven wrote:
I wonder how much of Moeller's reputation is tied up in Gradkowski succeeding. Osemele too, but to a lesser degree because we've seen him play well last season.

Moeller has had Gradkowski for a year, and had Matt Birk as the perfect example and mentor for the rookie. And this is what we've ended up with. Something doesn't add up, somewhere.

I still wonder at the fact the Ravens appear to have two O-line coaches. Is the message being garbled? The scheme appears less than ideal, that's for sure.


Everything about our offensive line sucks right now except for Monroe and to an extent, Yanda. You KNOW something is wrong when Yanda doesn't look dominant.
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BlaqOptic wrote:
I'd say he's [Dennis Pitta] the fourth best TE in the division... Cameron > Miller > Gresham > Eiffert = Pitta
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Mancunian Raven


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I said this in the gameday thread, but I'll put it here too:

Right now, if someone offered me the hypothetical of taking a RT in the 1st, and a C in the 2nd, or vice versa, I'd bite their hands off.

That O-line seems to be absolutely crippling this team, at the moment. All the problems seem to stem from not being able to give Joe time to throw, but also to not be able to open holes of Rice and Pierce.

There are other needs, like WR and S, but it seems like the Ravens' inclination to do things on the cheap on that O-line has finally caught up with them. And for that to happen the year after you pay your QB $120million seems really inconvenient.
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diamondbull424


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the solution is drafting both a C and RT early in the draft. I think we could use a dominant WR much more than a RT. I think we can likely get by with a veteran stop-gap at RT. Oher's play there hasn't been bad, if we can find a cheap veteran playing at a similar level, that's really all we need.

The most important thing is finding someone at center that can keep the pocket from imploding up the middle.

I don't know in what round Travis Swanson will be projected to go in by seasons end, but that's who I want. He presents the perfect cross between athleticism and stout- ability. Grasu is cool, but he's just a backup plan.

I also think the most important thing outside of drafting a center and picking up a veteran RT (and perhaps drafting an OT in the 4th) is to change our blocking scheme. Obviously it's just not working- at all. Each one of our OL players minus Gradkowski have proven they can be successful at run blocking in their careers. Yanda has been an All Pro. Oher was a beastly run blocker as a rookie. KO dominated dudes last season in run blocking, it was his major strength. Eugene Monroe was a very solid run blocker in Jacksonville minus this season.

So obviously, I think the system has a lot to do with just how bad this line has been playing. And obviously someone needs to go- NOW. It's just inexcusable to have such a terrible OL with such prime talent and not evens see an OL coach put on notice PUBLICLY... if not fired outright. Moeller has been horrible for this OL since his inception. I'll at least be willing to provide a pass for Castillo until he becomes the main guy and is fully responsible one way or the other. Moeller has had his chance for the last couple seasons to prove his worth... and he hasn't.
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Mancunian Raven


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bringing in vets is what the Ravens have done for so long, though, on that O-line. And while it's been a decent short term solution, we're seeing the price to be paid now, with Birk retiring and McKinnie effectively retiring. A couple of years ago, it was Andre Gurode, last year Bobbie Williams.

Before we know it, Marshall Yanda will be up there in age, and looking more towards retirement than anything else. I'd just like that line to be set, with Monroe and Osemele on the left, Yanda and Oher (or a quality RT) on the right, and someone in the middle who can do all the things a Center is supposed to do.

Walterfootball has Travis Swanson projected in the 2nd or 3rd round, but it seems like Centers are alway projected quite low, so that's perhaps not an accurate measure.

If the Ravens could get him or Grasu or Stork, or whichever guy they think is the best, in the 2nd round, and they either keep Oher or get a RT who can do just as good a job, then using that 1st round pick on a WR would be ideal.
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BaltimoreTerp


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What we saw repeatedly yesterday (and the games before) was guys knifing in untouched on run-plays to blow up Pierce or Rice in the backfield. On plays like that, I have to point the finger at Gradkowski... his line calls have repeatedly failed to account for defenders and they're blowing up plays without ever having to engage a blocker on their way in. Birk wasn't a particularly effective athlete towards the end of his career but his intelligence was invaluable and that's what we miss the most out of our center right now. Gradkowski gets blown up by defenders but also makes bad line calls and leaves his line, running backs, and quarterback out to dry. Just all-around terrible. Maybe Shipley is just as bad but I'd like to at least find out; it's hard to imagine you can get much worse than Gradkowski has been (famous last words, I know)...
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah seriously as long as someone can make the correct line calls and at least put a body in front of someone, that's an improvement because right now people shoot through our A gaps at will and with nobody ever blocking them.

I also do not think the solution is getting more stop-gap players. That only works for so long (see: New York Jets). It sure looks good when it's working but when those guys retire, you're screwed because you didn't effectively replace them. I don't want a playmaking WR over a solid offensive lineman because, as we see, if you don't have an offensive line, you lose games no matter who your WR's are. We just had a game where Doss, Clark, and Jones all neared 100 yards in receiving and our offense was TERRIBLE! So how is having a dominant WR going to change that? You can't fix the fact that GB played 7 in the box and blitzed on 1st down and got through the A gaps by having a WR on the field. You fix that with better offensive line play.

Once you establish the offensive line, you can work your way out to the skill positions. Let's also not forget we are getting back Dennis Pitta next year, which will be huge for our passing game.
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BlaqOptic wrote:
I'd say he's [Dennis Pitta] the fourth best TE in the division... Cameron > Miller > Gresham > Eiffert = Pitta
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diamondbull424


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mancunian Raven wrote:
Bringing in vets is what the Ravens have done for so long, though, on that O-line. And while it's been a decent short term solution, we're seeing the price to be paid now, with Birk retiring and McKinnie effectively retiring. A couple of years ago, it was Andre Gurode, last year Bobbie Williams.

Before we know it, Marshall Yanda will be up there in age, and looking more towards retirement than anything else. I'd just like that line to be set, with Monroe and Osemele on the left, Yanda and Oher (or a quality RT) on the right, and someone in the middle who can do all the things a Center is supposed to do.

Walterfootball has Travis Swanson projected in the 2nd or 3rd round, but it seems like Centers are alway projected quite low, so that's perhaps not an accurate measure.

If the Ravens could get him or Grasu or Stork, or whichever guy they think is the best, in the 2nd round, and they either keep Oher or get a RT who can do just as good a job, then using that 1st round pick on a WR would be ideal.


1) Bringing in solid vets on cheap deals isn't just a Ravens thing for the OL, they do it everywhere on this team. Look at the DL. It was a weakness last season. So as opposed to just looking to fix it through the draft, they brought in two solid vets in Chris Canty and Marcus Spears on short deals. They did it with Trevor Pryce. What about LBers, Daryl Smith and Elvis Dumervil this season, Tommy Polley (05'). What about the secondary? Rod Woodson, Samari Rolle, Bernard Pierce. Running backs? Trade for Willis McGahee, sign Ricky Williams.

The point? Signing cheap veterans is an important part of the salary cap era. There is simply no way to maintain costs while keeping great players all over your football team. The OLs in particular. Because it requires having FIVE guys in that unit. That's a lot of resources when you consider that a football team only has 22 starters.

Monroe = trade
KO = draft
Future center = draft
Yanda = draft
Future RT = ?

If we can't retain Oher, it makes sense to sign a cheap respected veteran. We got solid results out of that in the past... and even McKinnie was a solid stop-gap. The problem was not in the strategy, but in the player... and in relying on that player for as long as we did. This was the obvious year to replace McKinnie, but because we had so many other players leave and so many issues elsewhere, the front office didn't get a good match in LT value in the draft vs the value at those many other needed positions... so they HOPED McKinnie could be the new Matt Birk, veteran signed to TWO short term contracts... but he's not Matt Birk.

The point? Relying on a cheap veteran makes sense and as long as we are only relying on them for a short period of time (two years) it seems to work out well enough- as a stop gap. Which allows us the opportunity to draft a mid-lower round RT option to compete with said veteran and Ricky Wagner for the best RT option. Perhaps our next Jah Reid investment pays off and we won't even need the veteran as more than just depth. But the veteran keeps us from having to overdraft a RT on draft day.

2) As you alluded to, Marshall Yanda will eventually go the way of Chris Snee and decline/retire. Eventually Eugene Monroe will age. KO will either be resigned or leave in FA. A football team is never "set". Even the Texans were only able to keep their incredibly strong OL together for what? Two seasons? If that. And most teams aren't nearly that lucky. Drafting great OL talent doesn't always work out- Adam Terry was a 2nd round bust and we could mention plenty of others. Look at the top OTs from this past draft class, most aren't/weren't looking so hot over on the right side. Investing a high pick in the OL doesn't guarantee a successful unit. If anything the LT and C positions are the most important OL positions to draft... simply because teams don't USUALLY let probowl caliber players at either position hit FA. Whereas OGs and RTs usually have plenty of capable options floating around. That's why I'm more concerned with making sure we invest in getting a good center high in the draft, rather than a RT. We can "set" our OL by making sure we have our LT and center positions "set" and using a combination of FA and the draft to answer the other spots.

3) I'm not going to lie, I do use WalterFootball. But I only use them to look at names for me to scout... not as an actual place where player rankings matter. In fact, they're known for being quite abysmal in that regard. A much better rankings site is nfldraftscout/cbssports (CBS bought the former). Walter Football has Bryan Stork as their #1 center... and clearly they have no idea what they're talking about. I've watch enough film of Stork, Grasu, and Swanson to tell that Stork isn't on the same level as the other two... and I'm not even sure Grasu is on the same level as Swanson. Tbqh, Swanson looked like a 1st/2nd round talent to me on tape. So if he's available late 2nd, he's a gigantic steal IMO... especially with him being coached up by Bret Bielema- a noted OL guru. I see Swanson somewhere between Alex Mack and Stefen Wisniewski as a player. Athletic, stout at the POA, and mean.

4) Agreed. And that's why that's the strategy I hope we see. We'll be getting Pitta back at TE. That's a weapon. We have Torrey Smith. If we add another WR, we give Flacco plenty of weapons to grow with heading into his prime. The OL with a great center and solid RT would look much improved and thus allow us the ability to actually use our weapons.
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