Let’s take a look at the post game notes and talk some X’s and O’s from the Ravens 10-9 win over Rex Ryan and the Jets…
Boldin’s impact: Versatility is the key word to describe the role that WR Anquan Boldin plays for the Ravens’ offense. As we saw, he can align in multiple spots on the field—both inside and outside of the numbers. Plus, when the Ravens do get into 3rd and short to medium situations, he is the ideal player to run inside breaking routes away from the defender’s leverage. Those are high percentage throws for QB Joe Flacco in an offense that was very good on third down—converting on 11 of 19 opportunities. Boldin finished with 110-yards on 7 receptions. Big first night.
ICONThe Jets need better play out of Mark Sanchez at the QB position.
Sanchez struggles: This will be a big topic of discussion throughout the week, because when the starting QB of an NFL team doesn’t take chances—or give his WRs opportunities to make plays down the field—something is missing. How many times did Sanchez take the check down, or throw the swing route to the RB? The Jets do need to open up their playbook for the QB, but when he shows the coaching staff that he is not going to challenge the secondary, there aren’t many options. The Jets’ QB didn’t produce against the Baltimore pressure schemes and when the Ravens did drop back into their Cover 2 scheme—he took the easy way out every time. Finishing with a stat line of 10-21 for 74-yards, and only converting 1 of 11 thrid down attempts, isn’t going to win many football games in this league.
Defensive looks: If you like defensive football, then it is easy to get into what both the Jets and the Ravens will show you from a scheme perspective. In pressure situations, these defenses will give multiple looks, use overload blitz packages and play zero-man technique (no safety help) in the secondary. The complete opposite of what we see from Tampa 2 teams, these game plans are long, in-depth and require all eleven players to prepare in the meeting room throughout the week.
Ravens’ personnel advantage: One thing to note from the game is the use of “Posse” personnel (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB) by Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. By bringing WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh onto the field, Ryan was forced to bring rookie CB Kyle Wilson into the game as part of the Jets’ defensive sub packages. The Ravens targeted Wilson inside of the numbers—and the rookie struggled. One thing about Ryan is that he is not going to change the way he calls a game based off of who is on the field—but Baltimore took advantage of it.
ICONBaltimore's Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis: This is how LBs should play the position. A great player to study on tape, because Lewis doesn’t have any hesitation in his game. The Ravens’ LB can diagnose plays, get downhill and use power at the point of attack. No false steps, technique sound with his head placement in taking on lead blocks and in his tackling, plus he doesn’t take plays off. This is a good example for younger players, because after so many years in the league, your speed will drop. But, technique always carries players as they get older.
The Jets’ running game: With the play of Sanchez, the Jets will have to engineer drives and convert in third and short opportunities. That is how they won games in ’09. Starts with Shonn Greene. Can’t put the ball on the ground in this league and expect the offense to feature you as a No.1 back. Did see some burst to the edge from L.T., but he isn’t going to carry this team. Has to be Greene—and it has to be better.
Revis: Wasn’t testedt. Like we talked about above, the Ravens moved Boldin around on offense and Ryan didn’t choose to put his best cover corner on the No.1 WR. His footwork wasn’t ideal, but that is because of the time missed. However, still see that top tier talent when he comes out of his breaks and plays with mirror technique against a WR. The holding call? That happens to every corner who is active with their hands.
X’s and O’s..
The RB flip: Saw the Jets use this tonight to get L.T. to the edge. It is designed to beat an overaggressive defense like the Ravens. Force the contain player to crash for the cutback and flip the ball to the RB after a counter step in the backfield.
3×1 slant: I like what the Raven do on offense with TE Todd Heap. From a defensive perspective, when he is removed from the core of the formation as the “X” receiver (or split end), he is there for a reason—to get the ball. Draws the matchup of a safety and run the slant. 3×1 in third and short equals a backside slant in almost every offense.
The Pistol: An offense we see more in the college game, but the Pistol is starting to show up in the NFL. The QB aligns in the gun with the RB in the dot position directly behind him. The Jets put Brad Smith into the game to run the counter option. I also saw it on Sunday with the Bills and the Lions.
– The Ravens’ Tom Zbikowski has to know better than to field a punt inside of the 5-yard line and run laterally to the pursuit of the coverage team. Every returner is taught to get vertically up the field. That could have been a disaster.
– Curious about the technique of Jets’ CB Antonio Cromartie at the line of scrimmage. He plays in a press position, but doesn’t use his hands—choosing to “bail” (turn hips and run) instead of getting a jam. Tough for a guy that plays too tall down the field.
– TE Dustin Keller has to run his route at the right depth in a 4th down situation. Got to know the sticks.
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