The Game Ball Thread: Wk 16 at Ravens

Super Nomario

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MarcSullivaFan said:
You really think that poor hands is a legitimate grounds for criticism of a linebacker? He made a great play just to get a hand on it.
HIghtower really should have caught it - it went right through his hands - but there's a reason some of these guys play defense. I thought he played a good game overall.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Super Nomario said:
HIghtower really should have caught it - it went right through his hands - but there's a reason some of these guys play defense. I thought he played a good game overall.
 
I've been championing the "Hightower blows" campaign all season, but I really liked his play yesterday.
 
The team seems to be doing a better job of leveraging his strengths the last few weeks. Some plays they lined up in a 2 or 3 man front and had him play off the line, and then crash it on the snap. There was one play in particular where Hightower tumbled over a lineman, got up, and chased Flacco out of the pocket and forced a bad throw (on 3rd or 4th down I believe). Getting him in there to standup some lineman, play down hill, and limit his exposure in man coverage has done wonders for his results. It seemed like they were playing in zone a bit more yesterday too. Several of the balls that were batted down or tipped were done so by players on the zone under Flacco's intended receiver. Hightower's tip came out of a zone (at least a zone by the linebackers).
 
Basically, Kyed was right. They've started to play to Hightower's strengths, and his game has drastically improved.
 

Stitch01

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( . ) ( . ) and (_!_) said:
 
Yes, when your game is primarily based on throwing the ball up for grabs and hoping your WRs pull them down or draw a flag then you are going to have long, extended periods of sucks.  And like we saw last year, occasional hot streaks when everything is going your way.
 
Basically, I'm saying that Flacco sucks
Flacco is a perfectly average NFL starter who hit the lottery by getting hot at the right time.  There's easily 16 QBs Id rather have, but he gives you enough to win if things go right and he gets hot.
 
One of the funniest things I saw last week was a story about Flacco playing Mega Millions.  Would have been an awesome troll of the world if he had hit it.
 

Stitch01

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Kenny F'ing Powers said:
 
I've been championing the "Hightower blows" campaign all season, but I really liked his play yesterday.
 
The team seems to be doing a better job of leveraging his strengths the last few weeks. Some plays they lined up in a 2 or 3 man front and had him play off the line, and then crash it on the snap. There was one play in particular they did that yesterday were Hightower tumbled over a lineman, got up, and chased Flacco out of the pocket and forced a bad throw (on 3rd or 4th down I believe). Getting him in their to standup some lineman, play down hill, and limit his exposure in man coverage has done wonders for his results. It seemed like they were playing in zone a bit more yesterday too. Several of the balls that were batted down or tipped were done so by players on the zone under Flacco's intended receiver. Hightower's tip came out of a zone (at least a zone by the linebackers).
 
Basically, Kyed was right. They've started to play to Hightower's strengths, and his game has drastically improved.
This play was awesome, I think Collins broke it up at the other end after the pressure?  Think they had Collins playing more man-to-man when needed and found ways to avoid Hightower having to do that.
 
Coaching staff has gone out of its way to say that they understand they were asking Hightower to do things he wasnt particularly suited for, so story all checks out.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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I appreciate the bouquets being tossed at BB, but I'll take a moment to nominate a game ball for Scarnecchia.  No Vollmer, no Solder, Mankins out of position...and still an excellent job -- run- and pass-blocking -- against a really good DL.  Ngata against the run is a real force.  Double Dante's salary, then re-double it.
 
I saw a comment by Mankins at WEEI this morning that the OL wanted to prove to McDaniels and the coaching staff that they could deliver a running game, and they were pleased that they could continue to run throughout the game.  That got me to thinking -- do linemen generally prefer to run-block as opposed to pass block?  Or (more likely) do some guys like run-blocking more, and others enjoy pass-blocking more, depending on matchups and what they're good at.
 
Seems like it would be more fun to me...moving forward instead of backward.  Wonder if run-blocking is more physically-challenging/tiring/painful than pass-blocking.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Mugsys Jock said:
I appreciate the bouquets being tossed at BB, but I'll take a moment to nominate a game ball for Scarnecchia.  No Vollmer, no Solder, Mankins out of position...and still an excellent job -- run- and pass-blocking -- against a really good DL.  Ngata against the run is a real force.  Double Dante's salary, then re-double it.
 
I saw a comment by Mankins at WEEI this morning that the OL wanted to prove to McDaniels and the coaching staff that they could deliver a running game, and they were pleased that they could continue to run throughout the game.  That got me to thinking -- do linemen generally prefer to run-block as opposed to pass block?  Or (more likely) do some guys like run-blocking more, and others enjoy pass-blocking more, depending on matchups and what they're good at.
 
Seems like it would be more fun to me...moving forward instead of backward.  Wonder if run-blocking is more physically-challenging/tiring/painful than pass-blocking.
 
Some guys are better at pass blocking, so I'm sure they prefer it to run-blocking.
 
Still, these guys are huge human beings that spend much of their lives doing things to get bigger and stronger. Run blocking is about throwing your weight around. A guy like Mankins, especially, enjoys this. Guards generally get to crash down to the second level and blow up some linebackers. Being able to get a head of steam and smash into a guy 50 pounds less than you is probably fun for these guys.
 
Mankins also just seems to relish taking people out of a play. There was a stretch to the right side yesterday, and Mankins completely wiped Suggs out of the play on the left side by diving low and taking him out at the thighs. It was one of the best executed chop blocks I'd ever seen. This might be a little hyperbolic, but it was really cool to see Suggs launched 3 feet in the air on the play. It would be cool for someone to find.
 

ShaneTrot

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Speaking of O-line play, there was a Ravens DB who blitzed up the middle and Wendell just threw him out of the way. I love that shit.
 

steveluck7

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ShaneTrot said:
Speaking of O-line play, there was a Ravens DB who blitzed up the middle and Wendell just threw him out of the way. I love that shit.
I was just coming in to mention that play. Elam (i think) got tossed. It wasn't even a sudden momentum thing, Wendell rode him for a few feet then just threw him then turned to see if he could hit someone else
 

Ed Hillel

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Speaking of O-line play, there was a Ravens DB who blitzed up the middle and Wendell just threw him out of the way. I love that shit.


That was epic. It kind of looked like Wendell was upset with Cannon's play and threw him at his legs.
 

( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)

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If the 2012 version of Ryan Wendell starts to show up for the playoffs then we will all be a lot happier.  Guy has struggled all year to regain his form from 2012.  It also seems like the team thought Kline played really well (superficially when watching the game on TV, I would think so to).  A lot of us have posted in the Draft thread about the need to add youth/talent to the middle of the Pats line.  We should not get too far ahead of ourselves based on one game, but the great unknown has been how the young G/Cs that are on the roster/PS have been progressing.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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( . ) ( . ) and (_!_) said:
If the 2012 version of Ryan Wendell starts to show up for the playoffs then we will all be a lot happier.  Guy has struggled all year to regain his form from 2012.  It also seems like the team thought Kline played really well (superficially when watching the game on TV, I would think so to).  A lot of us have posted in the Draft thread about the need to add youth/talent to the middle of the Pats line.  We should not get too far ahead of ourselves based on one game, but the great unknown has been how the young G/Cs that are on the roster/PS have been progressing.
 
I really expected the line to struggle yesterday. While they didn't keep a perfect pocket all game, they gave enough room to Brady to let him do what he does better than anyone else. Manipulate the pocket.
 
I'm hoping the Patriots keep Solder on the sideline to let him heal up. First, because concussions aren't things to dick around with. Secondly, I'm completely fascinated with the move of Mankins to left tackle. It obviously isn't in the cards to remain a long term solution. Vollmer will be back next year, which is a good thing (he's a valuable RT and his cap hit is over $5 million if cut next year), and Solder is the future at LT.
 
But, other than the one hiccup by Mankins, he's been fantastic at LT for about 5 quarters now. Everyone talks bout how great the line played and how solid the running game was, and I think a large part of that goes to Mankins playing LT. The team ran to the left side of the line 18 times yesterday, and got 110 yards out of it. That's over 6.1 YPC on the left side of the line. This against a team giving up 3.8 yards per carry including yesterdays game. His strength has always been run blocking, but if he's able to protect Brady as well as he has over the previous 5 quarters, I think the current crew on the line may represent the best opportunity for the team to win this year.
 

Stitch01

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Kenny F'ing Powers said:
 
I really expected the line to struggle yesterday. While they didn't keep a perfect pocket all game, they gave enough room to Brady to let him do what he does better than anyone else. Manipulate the pocket.
 
I'm hoping the Patriots keep Solder on the sideline to let him heal up. First, because concussions aren't things to dick around with. Secondly, I'm completely fascinated with the move of Mankins to left tackle. It obviously isn't in the cards to remain a long term solution. Vollmer will be back next year, which is a good thing (he's a valuable RT and his cap hit is over $5 million if cut next year), and Solder is the future at LT.
 
But, other than the one hiccup by Mankins, he's been fantastic at LT for about 5 quarters now. Everyone talks bout how great the line played and how solid the running game was, and I think a large part of that goes to Mankins playing LT. The team ran to the left side of the line 18 times yesterday, and got 110 yards out of it. That's over 6.1 YPC on the left side of the line. This against a team giving up 3.8 yards per carry including yesterdays game. His strength has always been run blocking, but if he's able to protect Brady as well as he has over the previous 5 quarters, I think the current crew on the line may represent the best opportunity for the team to win this year.
I think they're better with Solder in for Cannon at RT even if no other changes are made, but pretty crazy how effective Mankins has been at tackle given the consensus view he had lost some effectiveness at guard.  He got beat by Suggs once yesterday, but no shame in that and he was real good otherwise..
 

Super Nomario

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PFF's grades:
Best: Ryan (+3.3), Hightower (+2.8), Brady (+2.4), Blount (+2.1), Spikes (+1.9), Collins (+1.8), Ninkovich (+1.7), Wendell (+1.6)
Worst: Cannon (-3.8), Chris Jones(-2.9), Kline (-2.8), Talib (-2.7), Mankins (-1.8)
 
Some agreement with SoSH's consensus (Ryan, Hightower, Blount played well; Cannon struggled) but also some departure (Brady's high mark, the poor grades for Kline, Talib, and Mankins).
 

lexrageorge

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PFF is badly missing the boat on both Talib and Mankins there. Their grading is so random sometimes that it gets hard to take seriously.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Agreed.
 
Mankins/Kline gave up one sack, kept a pretty solid pocket throughout the game, and the team rushed for over 6 YPC on 18 carries to the left side of the line (against a team averaging 3.8YPC). It's pretty hard to ask for much better from those two guys. If they were "losing" most of their 1-on-1 battles, I'd assume the team would average 15 YPC if they were winning them.
 

Reverend

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As was discussed elsewhere, it seems like PFF's system can actually punish a player for being good, e.g. the CB who is put on the other team's best receiver because he's so good, Mankins playing out of position because he has that ability, a LB who was alert enough and fast enough to get in on a play where a lesser player wouldn't have gotten near it, etc.