Booting Private Ryan--Defensive Notes vs. Jets 10/2/11

Maureen and I enjoy hockey and were watching a Caps/Flyers game in one of the last 2 seasons. The broadcast cut to a fan in the stands with a sign that read Briere = [picture of a cat]. The photo to the right captures the essence. I turned to Maureen and said "Briere equals cat?" She just looked back sideways at me and I said ‘oh…OH!"

Since then, when we see less than manly behavior on the football field, "Briere equals cat" is all we need to say to each other.

On Sunday night, the phrase had a 4th-quarter revival with the play of Mark Sanchez. Twice he dropped to the ground to avoid a QH (Q4, 13:31 and Q4, 9:51). The first time, Collinsworth chortled about it briefly, the 2nd time, he mercifully said nothing. I’m more interested in what it says about the Ravens defense that had not rattled a quarterback so badly in several years.

For the game, Sanchez was knocked down (QH) 11 times including the 2 sacks. As in the St. Louis game, the first half was all about numbers. Even when the Ravens did back off into more 4-man rushes in the 2nd half, Sanchez was unable to find his composure.

The Ravens had 56 snaps defensively with no spikes, kneels or other noncompetitive plays:


Versus the Run: 19 plays, 38 yards, 2.0 YPC
Versus the Pass: 37 plays, 112 yards, 3.0 YPP
Overall: 56 plays, 150 yards, 2.7 YPPA

By number of defensive backs:

3 DBs: None, which is always a good sign.
4 DBs: 24 plays, 63 yards, 2.6 YPPA, 1 sack, 2 TO
5 DBs: 30/87, 2.9 YPPA, 1 sacks, 2 TO
6 DBs: 2/0

By number of pass rushers:

3: None
4: 15/15, 1.0 YPP, 1 sack, 1 TO
5: 13/75, 5.8 YPP, 1 sack, 2 TO
6: 7/22, 3.1 YPP
7: 1/0

Individual Notes:

• The Jets converted 7 first downs, 1 more than the franchise low from last year’s game against the Ravens. In those 2 games combined, the Jets ran just 99 offensive plays.

• I like to keep a link to a cross section of online bookies to gauge public perception of the game. Late in the afternoon, the line on the game, which had consistently been Ravens -3.5 changed to Ravens -5.5. That’s a big late shift and is most typically indicative of breaking injury news. I anxiously awaited the Ravens inactives to see if some combination of Grubbs, Carr, and Evans (I had heard he’d been ruled out earlier) would be active. When those 3 were inactives, it was clear Mangold was going to be sitting.

• Ryan tried some things to fix the Jets’ offensive line woes. After the third series, he removed center Colin Baxter, moved Slauson from left guard to center, and inserted Vlad Ducasse at LG. Vlad’s appearance lasted 12 plays during which he had a false start and failed to attempt 2 blocks (Q2, 8:21 vs Ngata on his sack/FF and Q2, 7:33 on Ayanbadejo’s QH). Baxter then returned at center, but the Ravens continued to get free runs at Sanchez by stunt, delay, and missed blocking assignment.

Ray Lewis was credited with just 5 tackles, but had his best game of the season. As a sidebar, many of you probably know that the term "coaches review" is equivalent to "not comparable" (some would say "artificially inflated") when associated with tackle totals. The consistently applied and comparable tackle totals originate with the credit given in the Gamebook. By coaches review, Ray used to have many more credited tackles, but last night I thought Ray had tackles on consecutive plays (beginning Q3, 7:49) where he went uncredited in the Gamebook. On the first he took down Greene, but the tackle was credited to Pollard and Webb. On the second he pushed Greene out of bounds although JJ chased him there.

• In coverage, Lewis blanketed Dustin Keller, arguably the Jets best offensive weapon prior to Sunday, with a combination of position (Q4, 13:31 was in position for INT on low throw), hits (Q2, 2:30 stripped the ball loose), and fear (Q4, 9:23, Keller heard footsteps and dropped the pass). Keller was targeted 8 times with just 2 completions for 12 yards (9 came on a play where Ray registered the QH--Q2, 11:09).

• Ray twice knocked down Sanchez as a free runner (Q2, 11:09 and Q2, 2:23) and has become a more potent force with the frenzied pass rush the Ravens have created in their wins this season. Lewis has been able to effectively pick an opportunity as a delayed pass rusher to take advantage of the havoc in front of him. Ray forced another fumble (Q2, 3:32) from Greene which the Ravens did not recover and was negated by a holding penalty on Slauson.

• A play that will stick in my mind is the pursuit of LT to the sideline from Ngata and Lewis. Those 2 were even for a good while and Tomlinson was ultimately unable to turn the corner on Lewis.

• One of the big questions coming into the game was how the Ravens would handle the Jets’ 3 and 4-receiver looks. The Ravens initially played both a 3-safety nickel (Pollard/Zibby/Reed/Williams/Webb, 7 snaps) and a 3-corner nickel (Gorrer for Zibby, 3 snaps) before Zbikowski was lost midway through Q2 (Zibby also played 2 dime snaps with Gorrer).

• Gorrer’s coverage was terrific with his highlight example (Q4, 4:42) coming on a throw deep right for Holmes. While not credited, he assisted on the tackle of Mason to force the Jets to punt (Q3, 12:08) by laying his shoulder into Derrick’s midsection. He also stripped Holmes of the ball for a PD (Q4, 4:56). Sanchez did not complete a single pass to Gorrer’s assignment despite throwing 22 passes while he was in the game. His assignment was targeted just 3 times.

• Gorrer’s ascension has been remarkable. In the preseason, he was outplayed by 5th-round pick Chykie Brown and dropped an interception in the final game to seal his trip to the practice squad. Since then, he spent the first week on the practice squad, was signed and activated prior to the Titans game when he played special teams (Brown was inactive). Versus the Rams, he played his first 3 snaps on the final series while Chykie was employed only on special teams. On Sunday, the Ravens entered the game with just 7 active defensive backs including both Gorrer and Brown. Gorrer played 5 snaps even before Zbikowski was lost to injury, but he would finish with 25 and has earned additional playing time. Were it not for the discounting from an outing against a beaten quarterback, it would be interesting to see how the Ravens would arrange their depth chart with all of the current corners on the roster healthy.

For the complete article:

The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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