The Ravens offense started out hot and used a decisive game script on their opening drive. Roman utilized Nick Boyle and Patrick Ricard in motion and blocking backside to set up Lamar Jackson read options play-side, which translated into a career day for No. 8 on the ground.
Greg Roman’s Desert Eagle offense was dominant yet again. ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ Patrick Ricard, Hayden Hurst, Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle combined to play 151 cumulative snaps. Each saw time lined up as a boundary receiver, slot receiver and tight end. Only Andrews didn’t line up as a full back.
‘The Four Horsemen’ combined for 151 snaps against the Cardinals.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) September 17, 2019
Their physicality, versatility and talent will give opposing linebackers and defensive backs nightmares all season long.
The Apocalypse continues Sunday in Kansas City#RavensFlock@Mandrews_81 @haydenrhurst pic.twitter.com/89Ll63M4rF
Charting a full four quarters of offense gave more insight into scheme, design, personnel and motions.
The Ravens had a player in motion or shift on 55 of 75 plays that weren’t blown dead before the pre-snap movement occurred. On 18 of those 55, two players came in motion.
Let’s look at my three major categories: play design, personnel and positional designations.
- True run- 22
- True pass- 26
- Play action- 15
- Read option- 7
- RPO- 5
The Ravens started similarly to how they did against Miami. They used true runs and true passes to set up play action and option looks. Greg Roman also utilized a fair amount of boot concepts both in the passing game and running game. The boot was effective on all but one call, where Lamar Jackson took a five yard loss as his backside boot lane was closed off.
The veer and read option were a little more prevalent, especially later in the game. Jackson showed his speed to the perimeter coupled with his outstanding lateral quickness to find running lanes.
Roman set the Cardinals up by showing them a true run play where Patrick Ricard attacked the weak side defenders, then would show the same play design with Ricard sealing the edge for Jackson to pull the ball. Roman was certainly playing chess from the get-go.
The Ravens dialed up more true passing plays on Sunday than any other play, which shows their confidence in Jackson’s ability to read the defense and get the ball out.
According to Next Gen Stats, Jackson had 2.71s ‘time to throw.’ Time to throw measures how long it takes for the ball to leave a quarterback’s hand from the snap of the ball. Jackson has reduced that number from 3.1s his rookie year, which was the second slowest in the NFL in 2018 behind only Josh Allen.
Jackson is currently tied for 20th in time to throw with Matt Ryan.
The Ravens are also leading the NFL in play action passes dialed up, roughly doubling the league average of 25%.
The Ravens ball fakes have been extremely clean and impactful so far, often drawing linebackers and safeties towards the LOS to open the seams and the shallow perimeter. Jackson’s increased accuracy on short outside passes in noticeable, as he often struggled to throw screens or other ‘gimmes’ last year.
- 11 Personnel- 34 plays
- 12 Personnel- 13 plays
- 13 Personnel- 5 plays
- 21 Personnel- 11 plays
- 22 Personnel- 13 plays
- 23 Personnel- 2 plays
- 02 Personnel- 1 play
Of 79 chartable personnel groupings, 45 plays used multiple running backs or tight ends. The receiving ability of both groups, as well as the blocking ability of the tight ends (and Patrick Ricard) was on display Sunday. The Ravens threw the ball frequently from two and three tight end sets.
Combining the variation of groupings with the 55 plays that included shifts or motions has probably already stated to drive the Chiefs defensive coaching staff mad. The only tendency that has reared its head to me so far. . . When Mark Andrews is in-line as a tight end, the Ravens don’t run the ball to his side of the formation. However, Andrews ran many routes from the TE position, so it’s not exactly obvious how they’ll attack.
Their goal line offense is lethal because they can trot out 23 personnel with Boyle, Hurst, Andrews, Ricard and Ingram and either pound the ball, run play action or shift to a spread formation from a power 23 formation. Additionally, Lamar Jackson has yet to pull the ball on the goal line. They still have plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and I would expect them to surprise the Chiefs a few times.
Positional Designations: The Four Horsemen
- TE- 32
- FB- 9
- SWR- 7
- WR- 1
- TE- 16
- FB- 6
- SWR- 12
- WR- 1
- TE- 21
- SWR- 18
- WR- 6
- TE- 5
- FB- 13
- SWR- 5
- WR- 2
Andrews and Hurst frequently worked out of the slot as well as in-line. When Ricard and Boyle line up as receivers, they often end up being the lead blocker or backside blocker to kick out defenders.
Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst worked on the same side of the formation, often with Boyle inside and Hurst as the outside tight end. The tandem can handle defensive ends and linebackers, which allows the offensive lineman to flow to the second level and secure double teams elsewhere.
Ricard lined up all over the offense Sunday, which is quite impressive for a defensive tackle. Ricard has good rhythm and pace in motions. He also looked quite nimble catching the ball on a boot after motioning across the formation, and nearly turning a big gain after barely stepping out of bounds. Ricard was also disruptive on defense, and is deserving of a contract similar to Nick Boyle’s.
As for the receivers, it appears that Marquise Brown, Willie Snead IV and Miles Boykin are set in stone as the starters, with Seth Roberts getting a fair share of snaps and a touch of Chris Moore.
Wide Receiver designations:
- RWR- 23
- LWR- 12
- SRWR- 12
- SLWR- 11
- RWR- 11
- LWR- 7
- SRWR- 17
- SLWR- 10
- RWR- 10
- LWR- 24
- SRWR- 1
- SLWR- 4
- RWR- 9
- LWR- 16
- SLWR- 3
- LWR- 4
- SRWR- 2
- SLWR- 2
Hollywood was all over the field, and was heavily used in motion. There were several timing snaps where Hollywood was brought in jet motion as the ball was snapped, so don’t be surprised to see a direct snap to him against the Chiefs as he’s in motion. Snead spent a good part of his time in the slot as usual. Snead was also brought in motion as a blocker frequently, where Snead deserves more recognition for his hard nosed blocks and gritty attitude.
Boykin appears to have locked down the ‘X’ position for the most part, although he’s yet to shine like he did throughout training camp. I anticipate he will see some more targets in Kansas City, as the Chiefs will pay special attention to Mr. Hollywood Brown. With Boykin one on one, he should have plenty of opportunities. PFF currently has Boykin graded out as a 56.7 through two games, and I agree with that. Greg Roman should consider dialing up some manufactured touches to Boykin to build his confidence and put him in the rhythm of the offense. Considering the amount of snaps he received, he should be getting more involved.
So far the offensive line has played well. There have been plenty of clean pockets for Lamar Jackson to step into and solid throwing lanes. I’m impressed at the offensive line’s comprehension of how to play with such a mobile quarterback. They know that Jackson will leave the pocket, so when pass rushers attempt to change direction, blocks must be released to prevent holding calls from negating Jackson’s playmaking.
PFF currently has Marshal Yanda (73.4) as the sole Ravens offensive lineman rated in the 70’s and above.
The group has been average-above average at opening holes in the running game. Roman’s designs along with their 300 pound fullback have been a great asset to a group that would struggle in a Marty Mornhinweg offense.
Marquise Brown is the real deal. His footwork has been outstanding. He played well from start to finish with a starter’s work load against Arizona.
Willie Snead needs to step up his play against better competition. As the veteran receiver, and only receiver with more than one season with the Ravens, Snead needs to be more reliable as a pass catcher for Lamar Jackson. With Andrews and Snead functioning on all cylinders, the offense would be unstoppable for four quarters.
Hayden Hurst, Nick Boyle, Mark Andrews and Patrick Ricard are a lethal combination. Their toughness and versatility makes life easier on Greg Roman and Lamar Jackson. This is the best TE group I’ve ever seen.
The Ravens will have their work cut out for them against an improved Chiefs defensive unit. Chris Jones is on par with the Fletcher Cox’s and Aaron Donald’s of the world, and is going to give Bradley Bozeman and Matt Skura more than they can handle. Their secondary is better, and LB Damien Wilson has been stout in coverage over the middle of the field. The Ravens heavier personnel should be able to wear the Chiefs out if they can use ‘The Four Horsemen’ and tempo to bash the second and third defensive levels.