Chalk Talk With Babes: Outside Pressure On Bortles and Playing Cover Two

Featured, Sports and Bets — December 13, 2014 at 12:27 am by

You know in baseball when the bases are loaded and the count is 3-0, the hitter is 100% sure the pitcher is gonna groove a fastball.  The hitter knows this and is licking his chops because he will soon get to tee off on that, “get me over,” fastball.  Well that’s what the Ravens front seven is gonna get to do Sunday against the Jags- tee off and attack Blake Bortles.

The reason this approach will work this Sunday more so than in any other game this season, is the weakness of the Jags offensive tackles.  Starting right tackle Austin Pasztor is out for the year, and he has been replaced by journeyman Sam Young.  On the left side, Luke Joeckel is the second to last rated tackle of all tackles graded by pro football focus.  That’s interesting, considering that Joeckel was the second overall pick in the draft two years ago.  This pair, safe to say, is the worst in football.  Meanwhile, the Ravens are sixth in the league with 37 sacks, 24.5 of which come from the pair of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.  Sunday against Jacksonville will be a, “pin the ears back,” kind of day for the two Baltimore QB crushing stars.  The below average pair of Young and Joeckel will be brutalized by Suggs and Dumervil.  The Jags will have to use tight ends and chipping backs to help out their tackles in pass protection.

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The Jags however, are formidable at the guard position with Zane Beadles and Brandon Linder, who are both ranked in the top 20 at their position.  They don’t allow much interior pressure, so blitzing the “A” gap may not be the best plan of attack against them.  A much more shrewd attack would be to bring defensive backs from off the edge to get extra pressure on Bortles.  By doing this, Dean Pees could leave CJ Mosley and Daryl Smith back to help out in pass coverage.  Usually, Pees is sending at least one of the two backers on blitzes, but with the pass rush they will generate just from the edges, the extra man won’t be needed.  Mosley and Smith could help out playing the intermediate routes and allow the safeties to stay back and protect the corners.

Of course if all the pressure comes from the outside and nothing inside, then huge running lanes will open up for a very capable scrambler in Bortles.  That is why there still needs to be a decent push inside that prevents the quarterback from stepping up in the pocket.  My man Pernell McPhee is the perfect interior pass rusher for the job.  He can get enough push inside, without the help of blitzers inside, to keep Bortles honest in the pocket.  The Ravens will be able to get ample pressure with four-man rushes, and in some cases even three-man rushes.  This will vastly improve the coverage on the back-end.

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The extra coverage in the secondary will be needed.  With young athletic receivers in Marquise Lee, Allen Hurns, and Ace Sanders, the Jags have the ability to make plays downfield.  You also can’t sleep on Cecil Shorts as a possession guy.

With the extra defenders allocated to pass coverage, I want to see the Ravens play a lot of cover 2 on Sunday.  Cover 2 means that the two deep safeties split the field in halves.  Nobody can get behind the safety on their side of the field.  The corners have underneath coverage, but will ultimately pass off the deep routes to the safety, and are responsible for the flats on their side of the field.  Usually the corners will bump the receivers at the line to disrupt their patterns, and allow the pass rush to work its magic.  This coverage protects the corners by not leaving them on an island.  It also allows the corners to be able to jump certain routes like a comeback or an outbreaking route from a slot receiver.

In a perfect situation, if a receiver is running a nine route, or a go pattern, the corner will bump him at the line to slow him down.  Then the corner will carry the receiver up the sideline, all while keeping his eyes back at the QB and the developing patterns on his half of the field in front of him.  The bump buys time for the cover 2 safety to diagnose the play, and decipher his main threat to his deep half.  If no threat appears underneath the cover 2 corner, he can continue up the sideline trailing the receiver, thus creating a quasi-double team with the safety coming over the top.  This is where a ton of interceptions come from. The fact that both defenders are playing their zone rather than playing the man.  In zone defenders have the ability to look back for the ball the whole time the play develops, because their eyes are surveying both the QB and their zone.
Newly acquired corner Antoine Cason is best suited at this stage of his career for more cover 2 than off-man coverage.  He can use his veteran savvy to make plays his pure athleticism won’t allow him to make anymore.  Once again all this coverage is dictated by the fact that the Ravens can get pressure without blitzing.  This is what will make our secondary better.

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The use of more zone coverage is the way to go in game-planning for Jacksonville.  Make Blake Bortles march his team down the field, rather than let him make big plays over the top.  He is a rookie and he has thrown the most interceptions in the NFL this year.  The more attempts he has, the more chances for a mistake.  By playing zone, and limiting interior blitzing, the Ravens will be in the best position to stop the Jags offense.

cover pic:  usatoday

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