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Tag:Terrence Cody
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:42 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 9:44 am
 

Film Room: Ravens vs. Texans divisional preview


Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

The Texans are hoping they can do what the Ravens did three years ago: reach the AFC Championship with a rookie quarterback. Like the ‘08 Ravens, Houston’s rookie quarterback is a complimentary piece, not the focal point.

Gary Kubiak might be offensive-minded, but his current squad is built around the run and defense. Come to think of it, so are the current Ravens ... if they play their cards right. Here’s the breakdown.


1. Baltimore’s offensive approach
With Joe Flacco turning 27 next week and entering his eighth playoff contest, the manual says this is the time for the quarterback’s coming out party. But it’d be unwise of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to buy into that.

Cameron has been Flacco’s most boisterous supporter – and rightfully so. He and John Harbaugh have gradually loosened the quarterback’s reigns over the past three years and all but removed them this year. That approach has had its ups and downs, but through it all the Ravens have continued to win.

Flacco had a poor season statistically – his completion percentage dropped below 60 for the first time, which is why he averaged a career-low 6.7 yards per attempt – but he was also playing with more freedom/responsibility than ever. You can tell a lot about what a coaching staff thinks of its quarterback by the plays it calls.

Most fans just assume the black-and-blue Ravens have a safe, methodical passing game. In reality, much of what the Ravens do centers more around Flacco’s big arm. Instead of using Anquan Boldin primarily underneath, the Ravens often push the ball to him downfield outside the numbers. They use their tight ends down the seams and it’s not uncommon for Flacco to launch multiple bombs in a half, usually targeting rookie burner Torrey Smith.

It’s encouraging that the Ravens have opened things up, but in this case the numbers don’t lie: Baltimore’s offense is inconsistent through the air and survives primarily because of Ray Rice. The fourth-year superstar led the league with 2,068 yards from scrimmage. In Baltimore’s 12 wins, Rice rushed for an average of 100 yards on 21 carries. In their four losses, he averaged 39 yards on nine carries (and in those losses, the score was never lopsided, making Rice’s decreased touches hard to explain).

Rice is one of the league’s few runners who can consistently move the chains with power or go the distance with speed. His low center of gravity lends him superb lateral explosiveness. That’s deadly behind an effective zone-blocking line that features guards as mobile as Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda.

Will Joseph try to neutralize Boldin this time? (Getty Images)

2. Facing Houston’s D
If Cameron wants to win, he’ll work the offense through Rice. The Texans’ swarming front seven can be difficult to run against, but the Ravens have the game’s most effective lead-blocking fullback in Vontae Leach. He takes great angles to blocks and hits moving targets adroitly, which can help neutralize the downhill speed of linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing. The objective of the Ravens run game is to get the defense flowing laterally and allow Rice to cut it up inside.

Flacco won’t be irrelevant, of course. In fact, it’s not unforeseeable for Houston to bottle up the run early and for Baltimore to take to the air. Getting Anquan Boldin back from a knee injury is huge, as he’s a much tougher inside matchup than agility-based tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

The Ravens have the speed to beat teams downfield, but Torrey Smith is still raw and can be taken out of a game by an elite corner like Johnathan Joseph. It will be interesting to see who the Texans have their No. 1 corner defend. If it’s Smith, they theoretically eliminate Baltimore’s field-stretching prowess. But last time these teams met, Boldin was the one who caught eight balls for 133 yards. Wade Phillips may not be willing to surrender that again.

Regardless of how the secondary matches up, Flacco will have to play with poise. Even when they’re not sacking quarterbacks, the Texans pass-rushers are disruptive. Flacco was impressive keeping his eyes downfield and sliding in the pocket in the last meeting, but he’s still somewhat of a week-to-week player in this sense.

3. Test for Yates
All in all, T.J. Yates has done a commendable job keeping the ship afloat.

 Gary Kubiak did not ask a lot of the rookie in the wild card round. In response, Yates was somewhat reactive reading the field, but he capitalized when a big-play opportunity came about (Andre Johnson’s double move on Pacman Jones). He also did not turn the ball over (though it was lucky that Chris Crocker dropped a surefire pick-six in the second half).

This performance, however, came against Cincinnati’s 4-3, zone-based scheme, which was similar to what Yates saw from the Jaguars, Falcons and Titans in previous starts. Yates is yet to face a 3-4, or even a blitz-oriented defense. He’ll face both Sunday, when the Ravens show him things he’s never seen before.

4. Ravens secondary
One thing Yates has never seen before is a safety like Ed Reed. The future Hall of Famer is not just rangier than all of Yates’ previous foes, he’s much savvier. Most safeties force turnovers by baiting quarterbacks into throws on a given play. Reed will bait a quarterback throughout the game.

He’ll bite on the first route of a play in the second quarter; then in the fourth quarter, against a similar play, Reed will assume the quarterback knows not to try to fool him twice. Thus, while every other safety would play conservative and make sure not to give up that first route again, Reed will abandon that first assignment and jump the second route.

This is how he gets a lot of his interceptions. He’s a master at recognizing how offenses use certain plays to set up other plays. This is no different than a great chess player thinking four or five moves ahead.

It’s unreasonable to expect a third-string rookie quarterback to win the mental battle against Reed. Thus, the Texans might be hesitant to have Andre Johnson stretch the field too many times.

Reed isn’t the only noteworthy defensive back in purple. Lardarius Webb has had a terrific season playing outside and in the slot. Webb defends the deep ball as well as any corner, and he’s great at jumping passing lanes from over-man coverage. His versatility expands what the Ravens can do with their disguises.

5. Houston’s run game
It will be difficult for Arian Foster to get outside against the Ravens the way he did against the Bengals. Strong safety Bernard Pollard is too good as a downhill run defender and outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Jarrett Johnson are the best in the business when it comes to setting the edge:

You’ve probably heard the term “setting the edge”. Setting the edge is when an outside run defender (in a 3-4 it’s usually an outside linebacker) entrenches himself along the line of scrimmage or in the backfield near the offensive tackle or tight end. In doing so, he forces the running back to either cut back into the teeth of the defense or run parallel to the line of scrimmage (which allows time for other defenders to chase him down).

No outside linebacking duo sets the edge better than Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs and Jarrett Johnson. This snapshot offers an extreme example of fantastic edge-setting. Suggs didn’t just stalemate Duane Brown – he drove him back four yards.
(AP)

These days, the key to running on Baltimore is, believe it or not, attacking Ray Lewis. The 36-year-old Pro Bowler is still terrific at diagnosing plays, shedding blocks and wrapping up anywhere near the hash marks, but since returning from his toe injury (perhaps too soon), Lewis’s lateral limitations have been exacerbated.

When he’s going east and west, ballcarriers have little trouble bursting by him (especially when the ballcarrier hits the hole with as much authority as Arian Foster).

To get Lewis going sideways, the Texans linemen will have to have fully beat Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody and Cory Redding off the ball. Houston’s front line doesn’t have the strength to block any of those guys – especially Ngata, even though the 345-pound monster has looked less than 100 percent down the stretch – but as a cohesive zone unit, they can nullify them by quickly establishing favorable angles.

That’s exactly what they did against the Bengals, who can be considered a good “pretest” for a bout with the Ravens.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Divisional Round games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: November 4, 2011 9:37 am
 

Film Room: Steelers vs. Ravens preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



The greatest rivalry in today’s NFL is renewed Sunday night when Baltimore travels to Pittsburgh. Though both teams have drifted towards being pass-oriented offenses, these smashmouth defenses can still make this game the type of fistfight we’ve all come to love. Here’s a look at two of the league’s meanest, most successful defensive units.

1. Baltimore’s philosophy
The Ravens are not as geared towards Byzantine blitzes as they were during the Rex Ryan years. New coordinator Chuck Pagano is more inclined to use a four-man front in nickel and let pass-rushers Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger use their strength/speed combination on the edges.

This isn’t to say Pagano won’t blitz; he still brings some heat with inside linebackers and slot corners. But he uses stunts and the dominance of Haloti Ngata to generate individual matchups for guys outside. This creates similar end results to what Dick LeBeau does with his zone blitzes.


2. Pittsburgh’s philosophy
The zone blitz’s basic principle is getting pressure on the quarterback without sacrificing bodies in coverage. About half the time a zone blitz is actually a zone exchange, which means four pass-rushers who are coming from untraditional spots (say three rushers on one side and just one on the other, for example).

A lot of Pittsburgh’s blitzes are determined by the offense’s receiver distribution. This is a versatile approach that requires smart, experienced defenders, particularly in the defensive backfield where the coverage is usually a matchup-zone concept. Matchup zones require defenders to pass wide receivers off to one another. The Steelers and Ravens both do this extremely well.

As for Pittsburgh’s blitzes themselves, the goal is not to get pass-rushers in clean – though that’s certainly nice when it happens – but rather, to get LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison in one-on-one matchups against running backs or tight ends. The Steelers do this by overloading their attack to one side of the formation or, sometimes, aligning both Woodley and Harrison on the same side. Doing this can compel an offense to keep its running back in to pass protect, which can be a nice way to nullify a dangerous receiving threat (like, say Ray Rice).

Of course, Woodley and Harrison are likely both out this Sunday. That’s huge, especially if Jason Worilds (an unknown but gifted second-year pro who is potentially the next great Steeler outside linebacker) remains on the shelf with a quad injury. Deepening the damage is that inside linebacker James Farrior is also out. Farrior is great at timing his blitzes in a way that jars blockers and creates one-on-one matchups for others.

3. The safeties
A lot of defensive schemes look good when there’s a future first ballot Hall of Famer at safety. Ed Reed is a ridiculously smart, ridiculously rangy free safety who takes chances that no other players could take. He’s a centerfielder who’s capable of swooping into the box. Troy Polamalu is a ridiculously smart, ridiculously explosive strong safety who also takes chances that no other players could take. Polamalu is a box defender who’s capable of flying back into centerfield.

As a quarterback you obviously have to know where these safeties are at all times. Usually this kind of knowledge can tip you off as to what the defense is running. But Reed’s and Polamalu’s range allows them to disguise and redirect their intentions after the snap. Thus, the main reason a quarterback must focus on them is simply to avoid a turnover.

Something to keep in mind: Reed and Polamalu allow their respective defenses to be great in different ways. But their defenses also allow THEM be great. Neither could freelance as much as they do if not for playing with trustworthy teammates who consistently execute their own assignments.

4. Defensive Lines
On a similar note, great defenses always control the trenches. So much of defensive schemes are built around defending the pass. But effective blitzes or coverage designs are rendered moot if the offense can ram the ball down your throat. The Steelers have a stalwart nose tackle in Casey Hampton flanked by active defensive ends who can occupy two blockers by playing with strong east and west movement.

This is critical because the congestion these players create allows the linebackers to attack the run cleanly. In case there’s any doubt about how important the ends are to Pittsburgh’s scheme, recognize that GM Kevin Colbert spent his ’09 first-round pick on Ziggy Hood and his ’11 first-round pick on Cameron Heyward.

The Ravens linebackers also attack the run cleanly thanks to a potent defensive front. Baltimore’s defensive front goes about things slightly differently, though. While Pittsburgh’s ends are more athletic and aim to create congestion via movement, Baltimore’s ends are more powerful and aim to create congestion via penetration.

The emergence of nose tackle Terrence Cody has been critical this season. Cody is a load with some burst. He struggles to hold ground against double teams, but at least he’s drawing the double teams. His doing so gives Chuck Pagano more freedom in the way he uses Haloti Ngata, the most destructive defensive lineman in football.



5. Unheralded superstars
Ray Lewis and Ed Reed command a lot of headlines – and understandably so. And Ngata, deservedly, gets more recognition with each passing week. But the best player on Baltimore’s defense may just be Terrell Suggs. Because the ninth-year pro has never led the league in sacks, people assume he’s merely a good player.

But Suggs’ sack numbers don’t show that he’s the best run-defending outside ‘backer in the league, playside or backside. And they don’t show how he physically wears down an opponent over the course of a game. Suggs moves like a gazelle but, when engaged in a phone booth, has the power of a rhino.

The Steelers also have a first-class star flying under the radar: Ike Taylor. It’s mind-boggling that the 31-year-old cornerback did not draw more interest on the open market this past offseason. Taylor often defends the opposing team’s top receiver man-to-man while the rest of the defense play zone.

Last week he held Wes Welker to six catches for 39 yards, which is remarkable considering Taylor is not too accustom to lining up over the slot. The week before, he held Larry Fitzgerald to four catches for 78 yards. Taylor often shows up on TV for the wrong reasons – penalties and dropped interceptions – but he shows up on film as the key to Pittsburgh’s coverages.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 9 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 3, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: October 3, 2010 11:59 am
 

AFC Week 4 Inactives

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, the notable actives:

Baltimore RB Ray Rice will play today. As will Raiders WR Louis Murphy (that’s very good new for Oakland). Rookie NT Terrence Cody and DL Paul Kruger will make their 2010 debuts for the Ravens. Also, Denver's Tim Tebow is the No. 2 QB today, while Brady Quinn is No. 3. Jets RB Joe McKnight, who's been a big disappointment so far, is active for the first time. Bills CB Marcus Trufant is active as well. And in some great news for Seattle, LT Russell Okung will make his career debut. 

And now the inactives:

Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets:
He’s getting closer to returning, but against the Bills – where the only real receiving threat is Lee Evans – it’s probably unnecessary to play a Revis that’s still not 100 percent. Antonio Cromartie, who’s had mixed results as the No. 1 shutdown corner, should be OK vs. Evans.

Jonathan Fanene, DE, Bengals: This isn’t as big of a loss, considering Antwan Odom will play. Fanene has been bothered by a hamstring injury.

Cory Redding, DL, Ravens: He suffered a concussion last week, and he didn't pass his baseline tests this week. Therefore, he's inactive. It's unfortunate for Baltimore, considering the Ravens will try to slow down Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall, the fourth-leading rusher in the league.

Jake Delhomme, QB, Browns: Seneca Wallace will take over the QB spot for Cleveland for the second straight week as Delhomme tries to recover from an ankle injury. Delhomme was listed as questionable, but he was seen limping around the locker room this week. So this isn't a big surprise.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos: We know this would happen, and therefore, it falls to newly-acquired Laurence Maroney to move the ball. Last week, he struggled, gaining just 24 yards on 12 carries. QB Kyle Orton can't be expected to throw for 400-plus yards every week.

Andre' Goodman, CB, Broncos:
Bothered by a quadriceps injury, Goodman is inactive for the second-straight week. His replacement last week, Perrish Cox, gave up the TD pass to unknown Colts rookie Blair White.

Josh Wilson, CB, Ravens: Cary Williams, who missed the first two games of the season with a suspension, takes the place of Wilson. Special teams might have played a factor in this decision.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: September 29, 2010 10:15 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 11:52 am
 

Ravens release Trevor Pryce

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In a somewhat surprising move, the Ravens announced this morning that they’ve cut DE Trevor Pryce, the team’s sack leader last year, and have re-signed S Ken Hamlin.

Perhaps Pryce should have known his roster spot was in trouble when he took a $2.5 million paycut before the season. He hadn’t played as much this year, and he only recorded a single assisted tackle in the team’s first three games.

Cory Redding had moved ahead of him on the depth chart, and DT Brandon McKinney has been playing well. Although Redding suffered a concussion last Sunday – another reason the release of Pryce is a surprise – expect rookie NT Terrence Cody to be active for the first time in his career when the team faces the Steelers on Sunday.

Considering the 35-year-old Pryce has slowed down considerably, today might have been Pryce’s last day in an NFL locker room.

For his career, Pryce totaled 90 sacks, the fourth-most among active players and the 34th-best number in NFL history.

UPDATE (10:22 a.m.):
According to a Pro Football Talk source, the Ravens could have dumped Pryce simply to make room for Hamlin. That means the team might re-sign Pryce next week.

UPDATE (11:35 a.m.): During his meeting with the media today, Harbaugh said it was a high possibility Pryce would be back with the team.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: September 26, 2010 11:42 am
Edited on: September 26, 2010 12:51 pm
 

AFC inactives, Week 3

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

First, those who are active: Texans WR Andre Johnson, who had been questionable with an ankle injury; Patriots LB Brandon Spikes, who was a late add Saturday to New England’s injury report but was listed as probable; WR Joshua Cribbs, who hurt his ankle at practice Wednesday; and Baltimore CB Cary Williams, who has finished serving his two-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Tyson Jackson, Chiefs, DE: This is the second week in a row Jackson has been out, dealing with a knee injury suffered in the first game of the season. This isn’t terrible news for Kansas City. Although he was the No. 3 overall pick last season, Jackson has done next to nothing on the field thus far.

Adam Jones, Bengals, CB: He’s been better than expected this season, but his shoulder is banged up. Expect second-year CB Morgan Trent to get much more playing time as the third CB.

Antwan Odom, Bengals, DE: He was supposed to play today as he appeals his four-game suspension for violating the performance enhancing drug policy. But he’s not on the 45-man gameday roster with a wrist injury.

Jerome Harrison, Browns, RB:
This probably won't phase coach Eric Mangini much, because, for some reason, he doesn't like seeing Harrison, who's got a thigh injury, on the field. But now that Peyton Hillis and James Davis will get the carries, it's hard not to see Cleveland struggle in the running game.

Jake Delhomme, Browns, QB:
This was expected. But it's still important nonetheless. Especially since that means Seneca Wallace will get another start.

Brian Robiskie, Browns, WR: With three important pieces of Cleveland's offense out of today's game, it could get ugly today vs. Baltimore.

Terrence Cody, Ravens, NT:
Even though he practiced all week and wasn't on the injury list, Baltimore still decided to deactivate the rookie.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: August 31, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 4:27 pm
 

Another blow to the Ravens D

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The injury-depleted Ravens defense just got a little more depleted.

Second-round pick NT Terrence Cody had surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee and will be out two weeks, coach John  Harbaugh told reporters, including Rapid Reporter Jon Gallo . Cody will be considered questionable to return in time for the season opener.

And while it seems unlikely Ed Reed (offseason hip surgery) could play this early in the season, the team will sit down with the perennial Pro Bowl safety to see if Baltimore should start him on the Physically Unable to Play list.
 
From t he Baltimore Sun:

Reed, who had offseason hip surgery, would miss the first six weeks of the regular season if he is put on the Reserve PUP list. It seem s like Reed is pushing to return soon after speaking with Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie Newsome, defensive coor dinator Greg Mattison and secondary coach Chuck Pagano on Monday.

"He wants to come back, but he understands the situation, too," Harbaugh said. "There’s a lot more that goes into it. We have until Saturday to make a decision and I’m sure we’ll take until Saturday to figure that out."

Harbaugh, though, didn't rule out the scenario of Reed playing in the Sept. 13 opener at the New York Jets after sitting out the entire preseason.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .


Posted on: July 28, 2010 9:39 am
 

Cody gets it right the second time

A day after flunking his conditioning test and sitting out the first day of Ravens practice, Baltimore rookie DT Terrence Cody passed the exam this morning, according to CB Fabian Washington’s Twitter account .

According to the National Football Post , the team’s conditioning test consists of a player running 25-yard sprints back and forth a total of three times (or 150 yards). The player then has a 70-second period of rest. This happens a total of six times, and Cody’s time requirement is apparently 35 seconds.

According to reports out of Baltimore this morning, Cody is participating in practice drills.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .




Posted on: July 27, 2010 5:57 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 5:57 pm
 

Mount Cody falls short in first NFL test

Terrence Cody failed his conditioning test with the Baltimore Ravens today. Though plenty of jokes have been made on Twitter – “how can anyone be surprised?” was the general consensus – it’s tough to understand how this could have happened.

How could Cody, knowing he should be in top physical condition, bomb out on his test, forcing the team to put him (along with CB Walt Harris, who also failed the test) on the Physically Unable to Perform list? I agree with the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston. This doesn’t set a good precedent.

“I find it hard to believe that a player with the opportunity of a life time, a chance to make millions of dollars, wouldn't be in top condition,” Preston writes. “The problem with Cody is that if he can't invest time to get in shape now, what will he be like four or five years down the road once he has tasted success?”

And it’s not just a lack of discipline. If you’re out of shape, you could be more susceptible to injuries. See Smith, Andre (2009) about that.

Coach John Harbaugh said this to reporters: "We expect all of our guys to be in world-class shape. So, he’ll be in world-class shape soon enough."

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .






 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com