Breakdown of the Ravens and Cardinals Offense

Chris_Sanders

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I have mentioned my love for the Athletic before. This is an excellent article

https://theathletic.com/1198830/201...wboys-ravens-and-cardinals/?source=dailyemail

The Ravens
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, the Dolphins’ defense is terrible but it wouldn’t have had a prayer at stopping the Ravens even if Aquaman was playing middle linebacker. The Ravens were that dominating. They mixed up their personnel, varied their formations and bludgeoned Miami with what looked like every type of run concept ever run by man.

Surprisingly the Ravens were a lot more reserved in their usage of option plays. They were running the ball out of gun and pistol but for the most part they blocked everyone and didn’t leave a defender for Jackson to read. Jackson was more of a decoy. He only ran three times for 6 yards — the fewest rush attempts that he’s had in games he started.

The Ravens opened up the game with a really well drawn-up run. This is a designed handoff, not an option play. Jackson wasn’t reading anyone on this play and every defender in the box was blocked. The blocking looks like old-school power but the play looked to be designed to hit the C-gap or outside because instead of skip-pulling with his shoulders squared to the line of scrimmage, left guard Bradley Bozeman pulled with his shoulders squared with the sideline. Fullback Patrick Richard made a textbook block to seal the end so Bozeman could get outside and lead for Ingram, who rumbled for 49 yards.

But we knew the Ravens would run the ball well and they did — they ran for 265 yards. What is surprising is how little Jackson was a non-factor in the run game. Just the threat of him running opened things up for the Ravens offense.

“If (the defense) allow Lamar (Jackson) to run, he’s going to run. They didn’t,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh in his Monday news conference. “They were taking it away, for sure. It was part of their plan not to allow him to run. If people decide that that’s going to be the way it’s going to go, he’s not going to run.”

They dared Jackson to stay in the pocket and beat them from there and Jackson obliged. He was lights out in the drop-back passing game even without the use of play action or run/pass options (RPOs). On drop-back passes, he was 11-for-12 for 216 yards and four touchdowns.

On Marquise Brown’s second long touchdown, the Dolphins were in a form of Cover 2. The deep safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who lined up across from Brown, seemed to try to play a “catch” technique on him. He didn’t drop and tried to collide with Brown to disrupt his route. The risk with using catch technique, especially on a speedster like Brown, is if you miss, the receiver is going to run by you, and that’s exactly what happened.

Jackson was alert enough to see how shallow Fitzpatrick lined up and looked to Brown right away. He knew from his pre-snap read that he would have a chance to go deep and delivered a perfect touch pass to hit Brown in stride for the touchdown.

The Ravens had two long pass plays out of empty on their five-vertical concept. The first was a 41-yard touchdown to Willie Snead and the second was a 39-yard reception by tight end Mark Andrews. The Dolphins’ deadly fear of Jackson running left them exposed on both plays.

Even against an empty formation, the Dolphins crowded the line of scrimmage. They played man coverage with no deep safety and had two “robbers” underneath to take away short in-breaking routes and watch out for a Jackson run. The deep middle of the field was wide open and Jackson exploited it with a perfect throw to Andrews, while taking a hit.

The subject of Jackson’s accuracy was a hot one because he missed a lot of passes last year. He’s not going to complete 85 percent of his passes every week, but with a whole offseason to get comfortable in this offense, his rate of errant throws should go down significantly. He made a few pinpoint passes against the Dolphins.

Here, the Dolphins rotated into a Cover 3. The Ravens had a curl/seam concept called. The flat defender covered the hitch while the inside linebacker stopped his feet to account for the running back on the checkdown. Jackson anticipated the window opening and Andrews did a nice job of settling into the zone. Still, the window was tight but Jackson rifled a perfect pass into it for a nice gain.

The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia pointed out that Lamar Jackson‘s 16.2 YPA was higher than any QB’s posted in a game over the past 10 years. Unfortunately for the Ravens, they can’t play the Dolphins every week, but Jackson showed some definite signs of improvement as a passer in Week 1. We’ll see more of how this unique Ravens offense will unfold against a much better Cardinals defense (yes, the Cardinals have a decent defense).

The Cardinals
People expected the Cardinals to air the ball out at a record volume, but if you’ve been paying attention, the Cardinals staff has hinted throughout the offseason that they will run the ball. They didn’t run the ball a ton, but some of that was because they were playing from behind for most of the game. Their run game was multiple and included concepts like zone read, power reads, counters and even bash.

I think this is the first time that I’ve seen the “bash” concept run in the NFL. Bash is a reverse option read. Johnson ran a sweep to the right, while the line blocked counter-trey to the opposite direction. Murray read the defensive end. If he stayed outside, Murray would have kept the ball and followed the pulling linemen and run QB counter to the right. However, the end stayed inside so Murray made the correct read and handed the ball off to Johnson, who got to the 1-yard line.

David Johnson was the lone spark for the Cardinals’ offense — early in the game when their offense was still in a lull. He had 18 carries for 82 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and caught six passes for 55 yards, including the Cardinals’ first touchdown of the season with 6:04 left in the fourth quarter.

The concept is smash (corner/ hitch) on each side with a running back seam. The intent is to get both safeties in a two-deep shell to follow the corner routes and spread the middle of the defense like the Red Sea to get Johnson matched up with a linebacker one-on-one. And it worked just like was drawn up. It’s a concept that Murray was comfortable running at Oklahoma.

“I did a poor job early of trying to be too cute and overcreative,” said Kingsbury after the game. “Sometimes when you have all summer to draw stuff up, you can kind of get out of your comfort zone, and I think it affected our quarterback (Kyler Murray) early. I wasn’t getting him into a rhythm.”

The Cardinals’ offense only started to click once Kingsbury started calling his base concepts, which Murray had plenty of experience executing in college.

In the third quarter, Kingsbury called y-cross — a staple of the air raid offense. It’s a full field read that could require a quarterback to go through progressions that will lead his eyes from one side of the field to the other.

Murray’s first read is the fade/flat combination to his left. The Lions did a good job of staying on top of the fade so Murray moved to his next read, which is the cross. It was covered so Murray moved to his next read, which is a post that could convert to a post curl. KeeSean Johnson, who ran the route, saw a safety in the middle of the field so he correctly converted the route. Murray was on the same page and threw a perfectly placed pass that led him away from the defender.

The Cardinals hit on another big play in overtime on a simple spread concept — the slot fade.

Fitzgerald was in the slot against safety Tracy Walker. Walker tried to bump Fitzgerald but he ran right through him and did a nice job of stacking him. Murray placed the ball outside and Fitzgerald made a great adjustment to get to it. That sort of adjustment is harder than it looks, but the great ones make it look easy.

Again, Week 1 might not paint an accurate picture of who these teams truly are, but it’s encouraging to see the level of execution that these offenses were able to achieve. Still, defenses have film and they will adjust, so teams are going to have to stay creative.

“The things that we did well, people are going to do whatever they can do to stop,” said Harbaugh. “We have to stay ahead of that. Our execution has to stay ahead of that. We’ll be seeing new schemes, different players, all of those kinds of things.”

In Week 2, the Cardinals will face a ferocious Ravens defense, while the Ravens will play a much tougher Cardinals defense from the one that they faced in Miami.
 

football karma

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follow the link too -- good video that illustrates what is written
 
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Chris_Sanders

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The videos didn't come over but they are great. He shows the route tree as it develops. Sort of like a live version of Madden
 

overseascardfan

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So they key for ARZ on Sunday is for Kingsbury to dumb down offense for Murray and for Murray to not get passes batted down and no lob throws that end up as INT's.

I have a feeling Andrews and Brown are going to carve up the defense. If Hockenson had 125 against our defense, Andrews could have a career day.
 

DVontel

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So they key for ARZ on Sunday is for Kingsbury to dumb down offense for Murray and for Murray to not get passes batted down and no lob throws that end up as INT's.

I have a feeling Andrews and Brown are going to carve up the defense. If Hockenson had 125 against our defense, Andrews could have a career day.
Difference is that Hockenson is a better player(or at least a better prospect than Andrews was imo). Hollywood will probably carve us, but I doubt Andrews will.
 

BigRedRage

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if we can score more points than they do, we have a good chance.
 

overseascardfan

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Difference is that Hockenson is a better player(or at least a better prospect than Andrews was imo). Hollywood will probably carve us, but I doubt Andrews will.
Can't really judge Andrews rookie year because of the run first offense BAL ran last year when Jackson took over at QB. Andrews had a much more productive college career than Hockenson (both won the Mackey Award in college). Also, more impressive is that Andrews had a very good college career despite OU always having studs at WR so he was never really the primary option. Hockenson and Fant were the primary options at Iowa.
 

Timm Rosenbach

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The videos didn't come over but they are great. He shows the route tree as it develops. Sort of like a live version of Madden

Except in Madden, the Cardinals aren’t portrayed realistically at all. Nkemdiche and TJ Logan were still on the roster as of Wednesday and Fitzgerald has Bryant Johnson hands
 
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