Pathetic Performance Leads To A Pathetic 0-2 Record

Sports and Bets — September 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm by

Last week the offense sucked, and this week the defense sucked. Well let’s face it, the offense wasn’t much better despite posting 33 points. The Ravens didn’t deserve to win this game, as they looked sluggish and fatigued the entire game. I really hope this isn’t 2007 all over again; where a talented team that has the ability to beat anybody, wins five games.

The absence of Terrell Suggs was evident yesterday, because the pass rush was non-existent. Carr used those play-action short boot rolls all day to move the pocket and create time to throw. I’m not sure he was touched, much less hit, yesterday. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has to be more creative with his blitz packages to manufacture pressure. Ladarius Webb and Kyle Arrington are not in the stage of their careers where they can blanket receivers for five seconds while the quarterback can stand safely in the pocket.

Will Hill has to be more disciplined in his coverages. The touchdown to Michael Crabtree was a straight cover 2, and Hill let Crabtree roam free behind him on his half of the field. It’s okay for Hill to flip his hips and shade to the side that Carr had rolled to, but he still can’t leave a player behind him in his zone. He has to honor the arm strength of Carr, and he certainly didn’t. Nobody should ever get behind you as a safety in cover 2, that’s the entire point of the coverage. The safeties are supposed to split the field in half, and keep everything in front of them.

One area the Raiders continually had success attacking was the intermediate middle in the passing game. I don’t even want to bring up the game winning touchdown, where the defense parted in the middle like the Red Sea. I want to break down a play early in the game where the Raiders had a second and twenty three. They came out in four wide, as the Ravens only countered with nickel (three corners and two safeties). The Ravens showed double linebacker pressure pre-snap. The problem, was that it was clear as day that nobody was covering slot receiver Andre Holmes. This was either a blown man coverage, or the poorest devised zone scheme in the history of organized football, because Holmes ran free over the middle with nobody within twenty yards of him. Carr took the shotgun snap and threw hot, right off his back foot, to the wide open receiver. This play seemed to reflect a common theme of the day, confusion in the secondary.

This defense needs to reinvent themselves without Suggs. They are not going to have a dominant duo of outside rushers. In fact, Elvis Dumervil was a shell of himself yesterday, probably because of the increased snaps he had to play. CJ Mosley is a fierce pass rusher blitzing from the inside, and Dean Pees needs to center his play calling around that.

Shifting to the offensive side of the ball, the Ravens had a chance to put the game away and didn’t. Looking at Flacco’s line, you would say he had a nice day; 32-45 for 384 yards, two TD’s and one pick, is very respectable. But he missed so many opportunities. The under thrown ball to Aiken in the first quarter was glaring. Aiken had his defender beat by ten yards, and he was so wide open that I think Joe tried to be too fine instead of letting it rip like he knows how to.

This is my weekly paragraph where I shout from the rooftops for Darren Waller. He made a great play on kick coverage as a gunner, where he immediately tackled the returner. They did give him an opportunity on a nine route down the sideline, but Joe under threw the ball and put it too far inside for Waller to be able adjust to the ball and snag it.  He only had seven inches on the guy who was covering him. I don’t understand the logic of throwing jump balls in the end zone to Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken, when you have Waller at 6’6″ and Marlon Brown at 6’5″, but in fairness, who knows if that is Joe reading the coverage, or Trestman’s play design.

But I’m not ready to beat up Trestman too much, especially because he is such a creative football mind.  The first Raven touchdown yesterday was a thing of beauty that any football nerd like me can appreciate. Remember when the Pats illegally used the ineligible receiver as a decoy last year on us? Well, Trestman did it legally, and it was perfect. The Ravens had 12 personnel, but lined up spread. Tight end Crockett Gilmore lined up as the left tackle, but he was the end man on the line of scrimmage, therefore he was eligible. The Ravens then had right guard Marshal Yanda line up in wide right in a trips formation with the other tight end Maxx Williams lined up wide right, and Steve Smith slot right. Running back Buck Allen was slot left and Marlon Brown was wide left. This formation screams bubble screen pre snap to either side with the back to the left and the offensive lineman out to the right to be a lead blocker. At the snap Marlon cleared out the left with a 9 route, and Buck Allen faked a bubble screen calling for the ball. On the other side, Marshal Yanda backed up calling for the ball while Maxx Williams cleared out up the right sideline. The formation was really wild, but here is where the genius of the design comes in. Steve Smith drew the attention of the middle linebacker with a quick seam route while Gilmore ran the same pattern from his left tackle position. Joe simply read which side the linebacker opened up to, and went hot to the opposite side – which was Gilmore. Gilmore did the rest, as he drug defenders into the end zone for the score. Gilmore is a beast and is quickly developing into a star in this league. He definitely drew the attention of the Raiders secondary in the second half, as they doubled him the rest of the game.

Still, it’s just a silver lining as the offense was unable to win the game for the Ravens. Joe missed another throw on the floater to a wide open Steve Smith where he threw him out of bounds. It was the same route concept as last week when Trestman got Smith open in the end zone, as the two man combo ran a rub route with the outside receiver going to the post, while Smith came free underneath on the corner route. If Joe lets it rip, he gets Smith for a TD, instead they settle for a field goal. Like I said earlier, it’s missed opportunities.

The Ravens are in must win mode now as they come home to face the 2-0 Bengals. I’m not ready to write off this season by any means, but this team needs to get their act together before they are staring a 0-4 start right in the face.