FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 4: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots beats A.J. Edds #52 of the Indianapolis Colts for his third touch during the second half at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Gronkowski set a record of 14 touchdown receptions in one season for a tight end. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
After watching Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek pretty much do whatever he wanted to the Baltimore Ravens defense last week how in the world does the team plan on keeping tabs on the NFL's most productive tight end?
Last week Celek hauled in eight receptions for 157 yards against the Ravens "vaunted" defense. The majority of the time he was receiving the ball there wasn't even a purple and black jersey within 15 yards of him. It was as if they forgot he was even on the field. It is possible that Baltimore prepared so much for Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy that they could have completely forgotten about Celek in the first half but that only explains about half the problem.
The problem was that there was no adjustment. First of all why were the Ravens stuck in that worthless zone defense for the majority of the game to begin with after being torched on the regular for the first half. Maybe they figured that the constant pressure on Vick would produce more turn overs but they had to figure that turnovers really don't mean to much when they lead straight to a three and out.Here in 2012 the Ravens seemed to be faced with the same problems that haunted them in 2011. They have no idea how to adjust in game once their initial schemes are not effective.
I'm sure the Ravens will be planning on how to at least slow down the mammoth Rob Gronkowski but the problem is that every team that plays New England probably tries to do that first thing overall. Well, maybe it just can't be done but hopefully they won't leave him wide open in the middle of the field like they did last Sunday. My grandmother could have had a 100 yard + game with no one covering her. Although I doubt she could have hurdled Ed Reed quite as well, what I'm trying to say is, if this team was built to play mostly a man defense, why change it just for one player (Vick I'm Assuming)?
Even without Aaron Hernandez the New England Patriots have a ton of offensive weapons and the only way to keep them at bey is to keep them on the sidelines and that is where the running game has to come in. The Ravens best defense might just be their offense at this point. Let's get Ray Rice going early and hopefully bring Joe Flacco along gradually before we just have another gun slinging shoot out with an All-Pro quarterback. That may work against Andy Dalton but i don't think that, at this point, we can expect the same results against Tom Brady or, well, I guess Michael Vick either.
It's all about balance and if the Ravens can provide a balanced offensive attack they may be able to render the Patriots offense null and void if kept off the field. However if the Ravens want to use that quick strike offense to force New England to play from behind and hope for turn overs. Brady and Gronkowski... and Lloyd and Welker and whoever the flavor of the week is in New England may make for another long day in Charm City.
We were always at our best when we could do two things the best, run the ball and stop the run. From there we can work in our new fangled passing game and speedy receivers but let's protect the ball, control the clock and win the time of possession. Oh yeah, and please, for goodness sakes, cover the freaking tight end...