Purely based off records, the Baltimore Ravens are in the toughest division in the NFL. Unless the Rams snap the 49ers’ two-game winning streak next Monday night, the AFC North will remain the strongest heading into Week 7.
Browns-Steelers matchup is too close to call. A Bengals’ loss to the Carolina Panthers will set off frenzies I’m not mentally prepared for.
…Back to our Ravens.
Both teams, Baltimore and Tampa Bay – equally eager to make something of their hellacious offseasons – will bring the heat and fire on a day we’re expecting temperatures to be in the upper-80s.
With rookie wide receiver Mike Evans (groin) likely to return this week, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees will ready his troops to prevent an offensive shootout. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) looks to redeem himself after a two-drop performance at New Orleans last Sunday, and Louis Murphy is a viable threat when unaccounted for (14.9 yards per catch).
What is DC Dean Pees studying in the film room? My guess is as good as yours.
Stop Running Back Doug Martin
The Bucs' offensive line's woes continue to grow worse – Martin is only averaging 2.5 yards a carry on a total of 37 attempts this season. Their line's run-blocking must pick up the pace.
Despite only having six catches, an 8.7 yard average is lethal, in my book. I observe in Clip #1 that the Bucs are not afraid to bolster their offensive line from their own 15-yard line. The Saints’ aggressive blitz on defense halted Martin at the line of scrimmage, however.
In Clip #2, Martin takes a swing pass from Glennon for a 32-yard gain. Starting outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil/Courtney Upshaw and Terrell Suggs must quickly discern where Glennon wants to go with the ball. If you keep reading, you will find that task won't be much of a challenge.
Clip #3 is for our inside linebackers. After the snap, Glennon fakes a handoff to the full back and Martin runs a curl route from the backfield. C.J. Mosley or Daryl Smith must make that tackle, or else Martin will break loose.
The Bucs’ friskiest play (#4) shows Louis Murphy sprinting an end-around behind the line of scrimmage, and Glennon faking the handoff to the wideout before planting his foot to make the screen pass to Martin. The Saints’ linebacking corps sniffs this one out, breaks for the football and intercepts Glennon.
The Bucs show a 12-personnel (1 RB, 2 TE) against the Steelers, who send Lawrence Timmons on a blitz. Martin fails to maintain his block and falls to the ground – as Glennon frantically looks for his running back to bail him out before taking the sack.
Lock Down Vincent Jackson
Jackson’s high motor makes him one of the League’s most difficult to cover. His size (6-foot-5, 230-lbs), is a mismatch for most players in the backend. He bails out Glennon with double moves, as you will see in the first clip. After running his initial route, a curl, Jackson sheds off two defenders, shadows Glennon for a second then changes his mind by streaking down the middle of the field. Glennon rolls left after he’s forced to leave the pocket, then tosses a perfect pass to No. 83.
In the ensuing clip I noticed that the Buccaneers like to isolate Jackson. Starting in a bunch formation, the wideout runs across the field while his cohorts serve as decoys. The solo receiver on the far right side runs a deep post to distract the safety.
The third play showcases the Bucs' 21-personnel. Glennon's presnap read is zone coverage, quickly after Glennon’s play action fake, he realizes that Jackson is up against man coverage, which is the duo's most fluid pitch-and-catch.
In the St. Louis game (Clip #4), Jackson tries to use a double-move on a Rams middle linebacker. Recognizing that Josh McCown is in trouble and scrambling to his right, Jackson runs a similar route you saw in the first video – an inside curl to a fly pattern – but this time it’s McCown throwing an interception. Communication on Baltimore’s backend will play an integral role in stopping the MG-VJax connection.
Pressure Glennon, Read His Eyes
The Ravens defensive line must impose their will in the trenches. Their back end will rely on Haloti Ngata’s, Brandon Williams’ and DeAngelo Tyson’s ability to pressure Glennon through four quarters.
Second-year pro and right guard Patrick Omameh’s inexperience makes him the easiest target on Sunday.
In the film, I noticed that Glennon’s eyes tell everything. Post-snap, instead of keeping his eyes downfield, he immediately turns his shoulders and face-mask to where he wants to go. Normally, quarterbacks, like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, go through their pre-snap reads and know which check-down receivers to go to if necessary.
In Play #1, Glennon opens his hips to the strong side (trips WRs) as soon as he takes the snap out of the shotgun formation. Not seeing anyone open, the quarterback rolls out to his right and makes a weak throw to rookie wide receiver Robert Herron. I say weak, because the wobbly pass should have been intercepted, not because I doubt Glennon’s arm strength.
In the second play, the sophomore quarterback throws an interception. His pre-snap read was correct: the Saints stacked seven in the box, and appeared to blitz three linebackers, which means man coverage for Louis Murphy on the outside. The Saints only blitz two linebackers, which still applied enough pressure on the QB to make a fast decision. Cornerback Patrick Robinson’s impressive diving interception earns him a highlight reel nomination.
From the third clip we notice Glennon staring down Murphy prematurely. This is too basic, and should have been stopped. Glennon feels the heat coming from the line of scrimmage but still stays patient and much credit to his composure, delivers a perfect strike to Murphy for a 20-yard touchdown. The Ravens’ red zone defense must prevent the QB’s rudimentary skill set from flourishing.
Watch #4 and #5 carefully. The Bucs are in the redzone again in the fourth video. Four Saints are protecting their lanes, quarters, in the endzone. Glennon, again, is staring, but this time at nothing, while he waits for a receiver to come into his line of sight. Herron breaks loose in the zone coverage and catches a nine-yard pass for a touchdown.
The fifth, and last, play is simply just Glennon’s aptitude to gauge the blitz and trusting his arm to complete deep passes. Evans is lined up against man-coverage and Glennon, per usual, stares at the rail and doesn’t hesitate for his wide out to get open, rather, makes a beautiful throw to Evans’ outside shoulder, only where he can catch it. Lardarius Webb will not let this happen.
Readers, what do you think Pees is watching for? Submit your GIFs or screenshots in the comment section or tweet them to us @bmorebeatdown.