Welcome to the third edition of the Ravens film room pieces! For this edition, I went to Twitter to ask you guys who you would like this piece to be on. 196 of you all voted and here are the results!
Who should @tjack94's next Film Room piece be on?— Baltimore Beatdown (@BMoreBeatdown) February 16, 2017
Really not as close as I expected it to be, but I’m pleased with the outcome. The organization has been known to add veteran receivers and try to roll with them. It’s worked well with Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith, but the demand for a young playmaker on the outside was answered when the team selected Breshad Perriman in the first round of the 2015 draft. Perriman missed his entire rookie year with injuries, so 2016 was his first full season with an opportunity to showcase his talents. I went back to watch Perriman’s entire season and this was what I found.
I talk about Odell Beckham’s ability to turn a three yard gain into a 30 yard gain with his speed and elusiveness. Perriman also possesses the ability to do that. The clip above is Perriman’s touchdown in the Miami game. Perriman takes a simple five yard slant 50 yards for a touchdown, but thats not the most remarkable part. A lot of receivers go down at the 25 yard line, but Perriman’s acceleration allows him to find the hole and blow through it in time to avoid the tackle. I would also like to compliment the play call, as it was the perfect call against man. The receiver at the bottom of the screen does an excellent job clearing the right side of the field by running to the post.
This is another example of Perriman’s elite speed. The cornerback does hesitate in coverage but still gives Perriman a seven yard cushion. Perriman is not only able to make that up, but get behind his man and in between the deep safety.
One of the great things about speed is that you don't necessarily have to use it for it to be effective. Something I noticed is that corners rarely pressed Perriman off the line of scrimmage. His size and and speed made that a tough task and very few corners can matchup and contend with both.
When watching All-22 film, it can be difficult to locate a specific receiver because the quality of the footage and distance. That was not the case with Perriman. His combination of size and speed is what helped his stock rise and ultimately got him drafted in the first round. Perriman is listed at 6’2” and he used that frame to make plays all year long. In the play above, he is unable to get much separation on Stephon Gilmore and Joe Flacco doesn't lead him as far as you'd like (you’ll notice Perriman slow up at the top of his route). Despite all of this, Perriman dominates at the catch point and makes a terrific catch.
Catches In Traffic
I mentioned that Perriman can dominate at the catch point and these are some examples. Above Perriman runs a wheel route concept from the trips formation and is able to separate just enough to make a contested catch for a touchdown while being mindful of keeping his feet in bounds.
To say Joe Flacco struggled with the Browns this year may be an understatement, but Perriman bails him out here. Flacco throws this one up for grabs instead of leading Perriman a little further into the end zone. Perriman makes an incredible adjustment to turn around and locate the ball. You can speculate that maybe Flacco was trying to hit the back shoulder, but the ball went to the inside of Perriman.
This was probably my favorite Perriman play of the season. The Giants blitz, and Flacco is hit as he throws. All-Pro safety Landon Collins has an opportunity to pick this ball off, but Perriman goes up between two defenders and comes down with the pigskin. Catches like these are what will make the next aspect of Perriman’s game extremely frustrating.
It may look like initially that Gillmore knocked this ball out, but Perriman flat out dropped it.
Again, an easy play to make...
Questionable hands was one of the negative marks against Perriman coming out of college and these three plays are just isolated microcosms of the issues that plagued Perriman this year. Once again, it’s frustrating because he does an excellent job of making plays down the field in traffic, but struggles with some of the easiest plays to make.
Here is a comparison of what he can do. Matched up against Josh Norman, he’s able to extend his frame and make the catch. The pass is ultimately short of the sticks, but it just shows what he’s capable of.
Limited Route Tree
One thing that extends the careers of receivers is the ability to separate with elite route running. One reason why Larry Fitzgerald still dominates this late into his career is his ability to run clean crisp route and keep the defense guessing. Other receivers who are prolific at this are Anquan Boldin, Antonio Brown, Doug Baldwin and former Raven Steve Smith. One negative of Perriman’s size and speed is that he relies on it to win more often than not. That’s fine when you have it, but speed deteriorates. The receivers I just named aren't exactly burners by any means, but they found ways to play that have/will allow them to play way past 30.
In all of the plays I’ve shown so far, Perriman is typically running a slant or and a fly route. Once again, those two routes suit his skill set, but it becomes easier for coaches to gameplay around that. I like to use the example of Panther’s wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin can be a dynamic receiver down the field because of his size, but he's limited to what routes he can run. If you go back and watch the Panthers in the second half of the season, you’ll notice how defensive coordinators were able to take him out of the game or neutralize his impact.
Getting back to Perriman, I want to stress that rarely do receivers come into the NFL with polished route running abilities, so Perriman can improve. In the play above Perriman doesn't give any sort of fake off the line and tries to run straight through his defender. It wasn't the best throw from Flacco either, but Perriman didn't help the cause. He failed to create separation and allowed the defensive back to disrupt the timing of his route.
I want to go back to this Giants play for a moment. Watch Perriman in between the 30 and 40 yard lines. He tried a double move, but it was so bad that the corner back barely even nibbled at it. For a player with that type of explosiveness, you have to add shifty moves to your repertoire.
I do want to stress that Perriman ran more than slants and go routes all year long, but he was predominately limited to those. I noted earlier that corners respect his speed and give him free releases, which does help his cause, but for a player with an injury history, I wouldn't feel comfortable with him running over the middle into traffic numerous times a game.
Perriman has the physical traits that you drool over in a wide receiver prospect, but there’s still so much he needs to work on. From footwork to releases, Perriman needs to clean up his technique. Something that Perriman does have going for him however are the aforementioned traits. I’m not going to discredit him too much, because he has suffered numerous injuries over his first two year and likely hasn't had the ability to work on these nuances. Perriman showed flashes in year one that gave hope that he could be one of the top receivers in the league one day, but he still has a lot to learn before that day comes.
2017 Offseason Film Room Pieces:
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