The Baltimore Ravens are not a team the New York Giants face often, so we really don’t know this Sunday’s opponent as well as we might like to. To get a little insight into the Ravens we turned to Baltimore Beatdown manager Kyle Barber, who answered our “Five Questions” this week.
Ed: In some ways, the Ravens and Giants have mirrored each other thus far. Good starts, rough past couple of weeks. Which team do you see as the "real" Ravens?
Kyle: The Ravens with three victories. The players no doubt have produced, and it falls upon the coaches shoulders for the past few losses. John Harbaugh cost the Ravens two losses with bad decision making in crunch time. He also would not get Marc Trestman back on the running game, though the Ravens lead back averaged 8.6 yards per carry against the Redskins. Baltimore is a very successful team, only without some bad coaching mixed in to penalize them in the W/L column.
Ed: What is the reason for the switch in offensive coordinators? How do you think the change to Marty Mornhinweg will change the Baltimore offense?
Kyle: Trestman truly did not want to run the ball. Baltimore finally has a tailback with talent and Marc refused to use him to their advantage. The Ravens were throwing almost fifty times a game and that is not how you win football games. Especially a Ravens franchise. Marty Mornhinweg will utilize both the running and passing game. Marty is known for well balanced playcalling and also taking deep shots. His coaching can provide the use of Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace, both speedsters to catch those deep Joe Flacco passes if Marty makes the call.
Ed: Like the Giants, the Ravens have a looooong injury list heading into the game. Which injuries are you most concerned about?
Kyle: Marshal Yanda is a big one. The Ravens right guard is a four time All-pro, and one of the best in the NFL through the past 5 years. Without Yanda the blocking scheme takes a big hit. C.J. Mosley is another. The Ravens starting middle linebacker has produced great play these past few weeks. Multiple interceptions and also his point of attack in the rushing game. Expect Mosley's absence to be attacked across the middle.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants' roster NOT NAMED ODELL BECKHAM and put him in your lineup, who would it be? Why?
Kyle: I'll take Odell Beckham Jr. if I can't take Odell Beckham.
If I could only pick one I'd be arguing to take either a pass rusher or a cornerback. Janoris Jenkins sounds like the player Baltimore should be stealing. A second cornerback to pair with Jimmy Smith could really lock down the passing attack, whereas the current corner, Shareece Wright, has allowed 6 passing touchdowns through four weeks. Shareece was benched last week for his bad play, though the Ravens said he was experiencing back spasms.
Ed: You are preparing a scouting report for the Giants about the Ravens. How would you attack them, both offensively and defensively?
Great offensive passing unit, with multiple weapons
Quarterback who is very successful in the pocket, great decision making and capable of taking hits to deliver that last second throw
Running game looks to be the weakness
Pass rush attack is volatile, multiple defenders capable of reaching the quarterback
Great secondary, cornerbacks who are playmakers
Offensive Game plan: Use rushing attack to open other areas. Really need to stay 'up' in the down and distance to keep JPP & OV at bay. Double TE formations to test their linebackers and corners for mismatches.
Defensive Game plan: Force them to run. Shadow OBJ with Jimmy Smith. Jam him. Emotional player who can thrive if given the opportunity. Force him to fight through the physicality. If need be bracket cover OBJ with CB2 & Safety, with Jimmy Smith 1v1 w/ Cruz or WR2. Use nickel and dime to ensure coverage.
Thanks to Kyle for his time. Kyle also appeared Friday on the “Big Blue Chat” podcast to help break down Sunday’s game. Give that a listen below.