You all remember week 8, right? C'mon, think hard. The Broncos were undefeated? They got roughed up and outplayed by the Ravens? Bmarsh had Ray Lewis living in his helmet? Moreno forgot Ed Reed's name only milliseconds after being introduced to him? Y'all remember that, right? What do you mean you're "drawing a blank..."?!
Oh, I see.
It's going to be like that.
Well, the reason you have blacked out that particular game is because it was the first undeniable sign that the interior of our theretofor unbreachable Oline was not going to get it done. It also marked a turning point in the Broncos season that would see them suffer two unholy losing streaks on their way to one of the worst finishes ever seen by a 6-0 team.
Now, I'm betting that the biggest headache in Dove Valley this offseason has been looking back and trying to pin down exactly what went wrong. And I don't doubt for a second that the film of that Ravens' game hasn't been watched a thousand times trying to find that moment where the lugnuts flew off.
And now, here in the early throes of free agency, we find the Broncos pursuing, and acquiring, two of the Ravens DL in Justin Bannan and Dwan Edwards. The question is, just how much of an impact did these two have in turning our worm?
And what kind of an impact could they have on turning it back?
Justin Bannan 6'3" 314lbs
Quick take: Bmore used him in this game as a rotational DT and DE. He was primarily a DE early in the game, but on Denver's first scoring drive, when Ngata got hurt and the Bmore D was in goalline, they shifted to a 4-3 on running downs and Bannan was used much more often at DT. He is an anticipator, who gets a great jump at the snap, and is consistently the first off the ball when lined up inside the guard. Will get high at times and loses his anchor. Decent handwork, good upfield push, works hard, but wears down even in limited role.
Position/Participation: Bannan lined up at RDE, LDE and as a DT. He lined up at RDE for 3 plays, LDE for 4 plays and at DT for 12 plays, for a total of 19 plays out of 58 or 33% of total snaps.
Usage: Bannan was primarily a 1st and 2nd down player, rotating in early as a DE, then later as a DT. 63.2% of his action was on 1st down, 31.6% came on 2nd down, and he was in for a single 3rd and short during Denver's 2 minute offense at the end of the first half. In the first half he would rotate in when the Denver offense was sustaining longer drives, to give the starters a rest. In the second half he was more often a starting DT at the beginning of drives, and the 3-4 formation was utilized more on passing downs where he would come out. The choice to use him more in the second half seemed to revolve around the need to switch to the 4-3 with Ngata's absence, as well as typical DL rotation. Bannan was specifically off the field during Denver's 2-minute offense, though he did get put out once on a 3rd and short at midfield, which was converted.
Versus the Run: From his DE end positions he moved poorly when needing to close on the action inside, with average lateral work. Stays clean however and keeps track of the ball. More effective getting his push inside as a DT, but struggled to deal with Kuper and Polumbus when he would come off the ball high. Had more success versus Harris, and relies on his quickness off the snap to create disruption. Good hustle and finishes every play when fresh. Was less than energetic at end of game, but Ravens were clearly the winners by then.
Versus the Pass: Could handle Polumbus except when he got high out of his snap, struggled at times against Kuper. When Bannan gets his hands up he is effective at pressuring the pocket, but Kuper stymied him early a few times with a good, jarring handpunch that took Bannan out of the play. He still works hard to finish every play, though, and when he succesfully gets his hands up he can drive the blocker straight back and push through double teams. Capable of creating pressure in a four man rush.
Versus Playaction/Recognition: Excellent recognition and knows when to be patient. Good recovery athleticism and could get back into plays that try to wash him out. Keeps track of play and does a good job of maintaining pressure and not biting on reverses or PA. Overall seems very aware of onfield situations.
Final Thoughts on Bannan: He doesn't seem like an every down player form one game of analysis, but only a year ago he held his own as the starting NT, so I look forward to seeing him in an increased role from 2009. He seemed to do better in both the run and pass from the DT position, but his consistent effort kept him in and around all the plays even when he struggled to move laterally back into them from the outside. I was initially quite impressed with his speed off the snap, but realized as I watched that it was a veteran's anticipation more than it was athletic, and his upfield burst isn't that significant. He really relies on this first step and good handwork for his advantage, and when he misses either he struggled, even against Polumbus (who played well, overall, in replacement of Harris). As to projecting him at NT, he faced a few double teams (didn't draw them, just faced them as part of protection packages) and he worked hard against them and maintained his ground. He even generated prssure against them once or twice, including splitting a Kuper-Polumbus double team by using excellent handwork. Seems like he will be a key part of a rotation that needs to get deeper still. Looks like he would struggle if he was asked to do too much.
Dwan Edwards, 6'3" 290
Quick Take: The slowest DL off the ball for Baltimore, it holds back his effectiveness. After his first step he is explosive and athletic, can push the pocket hard, sheds well, and penetrates quickly from the end positions of both the 3-4 and 4-3. Loses track of the play at times, and struggles against superior technicians, but has a very high energy level and saw a lot of playing time.
Position/Participation: Dwan lined up at RDE, LDE and DT. He lined up at RDE for 15 plays, LDE for 11 plays, and DT for 9 plays for a total of 35 plays or 60% of total plays.
Usage: Dwan was a starting DE in the 3-4. He was primarily a 1st and 2nd down player who saw very limited snaps in obvious passing situation, and only as part of a rotation later in the game. At the very end of the game he was included in the group of starters on Denver's final possessions who stayed in on most snaps to tee off on the Broncos.
Versus the Run: Struggled against the run from the RDE spot, due to consistently getting locked up by Clady, and early struggles getting by Graham. Couldn't keep Clady and Graham's hands out of his body and struggled once engaged. Was able to shed Clady when the play moved away from them, but struggled to go through or around him. Struggled some with Polumbus but overall had more success against the run on his side. Seems to struggle with technicians, and was even embarassed by Polumbus on one play where he let Polumbus get a hold of him inside and got turned 180 degrees to seal the outside while Knowshon scooted around the end on a solid run. Hustles and has a lot of drive and explosion when collapsing the line. Very disruptive in the interior and from the LDE. Can bull into two blockers as easily as one, and is very athletic moving side to side. Sheds well to wrap up or chase ballcarrier and keeps legs very clean.
Versus the Pass: Excellent attacking the outside shoulder of the guard and very disruptive on both right and left side, but struggles to maintain pressure if he gets wide, and will be driven right out of play. Drove Hamilton back like he was on skates, but then would struggle when Hamilton was able to get his hands into him. Loses track of the backfield on occassion and doesn't get his hands up enough into the passing lanes. Disruptive and tenacious if he can get under an inside or outside shoulder, and can shed and pull away from the blocker in tight spaces.
Versus Playaction/Recognition: struggled to find screens consistently, lost track of a playaction reverse and was flatfooted next to Orton as he threw a 30 yard pass. Despite great lateral athleticism, often lacks awareness to take advantage, but has tremendous motor and hustle to get back into play.
Final Thoughts on Edwards: Very athletic, but slow to react, he reminds me of a developmental prospect who has hit his ceiling. the feeling in Bmore was that he had finally come into his own, but after watching him I can see why they were willing to let him shop his wares. His ceiling may be low. Good work ethic, however, and his effort and athleticism should afford him an opportunity to make an impact if he were to sign with the Broncos. He has the tools to battle double teams, and should be effective against all but the best tackles in the league on the outside, while he has a fair shot against anyone on the inside. His slow giddy-up is the main reason why he struggles with technicians, as they can get their hands into him first and redirect or push him around. Not to be confused with his slow timing out of his stance, his better than average upfield burst looks great, and he even looks like one f the quicker DEs out there, but he only ever really tried to go around Clady, which was of obviously limited effectiveness.
[Apologies on the quality of the video. This version was run through one too many codecs. I am working on uploading a higher quality version, which I will then annotate to point out where Dwan and Justin are in each play. Until then, accept this humble offering...]
Dwan Edwards is #93, Justin Bannan is #94.
The plays in the video are [or will be when I upload the new version] numbered for use with reference to the below list, which contains some notes for each play.
- DWAN good hand use; good lateral movement; slow out of stance; but quick on his feet
- DWAN last DL off snap; Drives Graham off the snap on a play where Graham is faking a block
- DWAN slow off snap but great burst of speed;
- DWAN good explosion out of snap; stays low; drives Hamilton straight back and rips under him; good handwork keeping Ben off of him;
- DWAN tough matchup with Harris; disengages cleanly; good lateral athleticism; good hustle to stay in the play; JUSTIN quick off the snap; gets low and holds initially; but Kuper drives him back; poor disengage; doesn't keep Kuper's hands out of his body
- DWAN slow off snap; lets Graham into his body; gets driven back by Graham; hustles back to line but not in time to stop the firstdown; JUSTIN first DL off snap; does good job keeping legs clean from Clady cutblock; poor lateral adjustment; but gets to RB behind line; misses tackle but trips up Knowshon
- DWAN last DL off snap; gets locked up by Clady; driven back; able to shed and make tackle; JUSTIN 2nd DL off snap; gets under Harris; rip-sheds and gets into backfield; good hustle to get back into play
- JUSTIN first DL off snap; swamped in a triple team
- JUSTIN first DL off snap; good lateral burst; good running lane disruption; easy shed off of Harris and makes the tackle at LOS (note: TE Quinn late to help Harris; misses block)
- DWAN last DL off of snap; lets Polumbus get hands into him despite good; low drive off the ball; gets turned 180 by Polumbus; out of play which breaks on his contain side for good gain (Note: Knowshon is badass)
- DWAN decent off snap; good bull rush; good leg drive to collapse pocket at the point (note: Clady let Orton get clobbered; and Hamilton had to lock up otherwise the B gap wouldn't have been open)
- DWAN decent off snap; good burst; drives Polumbus back; but doesn't recognize the playaction (note: Clady makes his cut block on the DB and maybe Marshall has a chance for something there)
- DWAN slow off snap; but great power; good explosiveness; drives Hamilton back on skates; JUSTIN first DL off snap; nice handwork to dispose of Polumbus; splits Kuper-Polumbus double team
- DWAN slow off snap; driven back by TE/OL Hochstein; moves well laterally; disengages to clean up tackle; JUSTIN; first DL off ball; poor recognition of trap; but clogs up the running lane (Note: missed block by Graham; poor footwork by Correll doom play)
- DWAN decent off snap; tremendous power closing inside; good leg drive; fantastic awareness as pocket collapses; decent spin-stunt ; JUSTIN quick off snap; good handwork to fight double team; keeps Casey from engaging; good consistent pressure at the point; but fruitless
- DWAN poor recognition; loses track of play
- DWAN driven down by Polumbus; stood up off of snap; JUSTIN gets high versus Kuper; loses point of attack (note: awesome block by Clady on the ILB; but Scheff got lucky on his missed block)
- DWAN good off snap; but doesn't keep Hamilton's hands out of his body;
- DWAN decent off snap; but gets driven back by Clady and then almost cut; good athleticism to keep his feet but well out of play
- DWAN decent penetration but loses track of play in backfield and misses easy sack
- DWAN slow off snap; engulfed and driven back by Clady; keeps working and sheds once the play goes laterally
- DWAN slow off of snap; goes wide; gets locked up by Clady
- DWAN decent off snap; good rush; engulfed by Clady but keeps working; good hustle at end of play; JUSTIN good pressure to double team at point; good awareness during play; works hard
- DWAN slow off snap; gets to Clady's outside shoulder; able to shed and be disruptive; JUSTIN decent off snap; gets high and gets cut down quickly
- DWAN holds ground against TE/OL Hochstein; stays low; keeps driving; disruptive; JUSTIN patient off snap; stays clean; moves laterally into play; good recognition
- DWAN gets hands into Quinn running a crossing route through line garbage; great recognition; JUSTIN gets high off of snap; ridden down in backfield by Polumbus
- DWAN stays low off ball; but sealed off of play; JUSTIN gets high against Polumbus; goes straight back into endozone
- JUSTIN anticipation variety; hits a wall in Kuper; loses anchor and gets stood up
- JUSTIN quick off snap; uses hands well to keep Kuper out of his body; but fails to penetrate when Kuper handpunches (note: marshall's gator arms pretty disappointing)
- DWAN good job off snap; but lets Kuper's hand get inside his body
- JUSTIN stood up by Polumbus
- JUSTIN jarred by Kuper's handpunch; no threat to penetrate
- DWAN good rip move on Polumbus; good hustle at end of play; JUSTIN pinned by Hamilton; low energy effort late in game
- DWAN engulfed by Clady; late recognition on screen; unable to shed
- DWAN good burst and power; good fight able to push through Kuper; good energy late in game
- DWAN patient focused on contain; stays on the move till the end of the play
- DWAN great drive good effort; pressure disrupts screen; able to drive all the way to QB
- DWAN decent off snap; poor handwork inside; lost in double team
- DWAN blows right by Hamilton (Note: Nice effort at the end there; Ben)
- DWAN decent off of snap; handed off once and chipped once; no threat to penetrate
- DWAN engulfed by Clady; good awareness to follow play; great end of game hustle but exhaustion apparent