Robert Ayers: Broncos v. Ravens 1st Half

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Hello folks, I had some questions specifically about the play of Robert Ayers and I decided to address his play. This is from the 1st half of the game against the Ravens last week.

Pressures

I looked at every obvious pass rushing down and took an inventory as to how well Robert did. I also sat here with a stop watch to time how long it took from snap to release for each of Joe Flacco's throws in these situations. What I can tell you is Joe was very aware of the pressure the Broncos were bringing and was getting the ball out within 2.5 seconds on average. He held the Ball for over 3 seconds only twice out of 11 plays I tracked. Here are the results:

Down/Q

Time (Snap to Release)

Pressure

3-8, Q1

2.1

No

3-6, Q1

2.7

Yes

2-10, Q1

2.8

Yes

3-10, Q1

1.6

No

3-17, Q2

1.9

No

3-8, Q2 (Harris INT)

2.8

No (Stunt)

2-12, Q2

3.2

No

3-12, Q2

---

--- (Coverage)

3-5, Q2

2.3

No (Stunt)

1-10, Q2

3.4

Sack

1-10, Q2

2.4

Yes

1-10, Q2

2.3

No

Generally speaking, stunts are not a fair measuring stick for a player's pressure effectiveness-they take longer to develop. On these 11 plays in obvious pass rushing situations, Ayers logged 3 pressures and 1 sack. Let's take a look at some of his efforts.

Play 1

On this play Ayers uses an outside/inside stutter step to fool the LT. He beats his man and is in Flacco's face by the time he throws the ball. In this particular instance, Flacco lets the ball go after 1.9 seconds. I didn't mark Ayers as getting a pressure since it didn't affect Joe, but he was essentially there in about 2 seconds. On this play at least coverage did not play a role and speed was not a detriment.

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Play 2

Here Robert gets good push in the pocket and is in Joe's face when he releases the ball. Joe releases the ball in 2.7 seconds on this play.

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Play 3

Here Ayers is going to win with a speed rush around the outside. He flushes Joe to his right. Joe gets the ball out in 2.8 seconds.

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Play 4

The Ravens run playaction here. Ayers sheds the initial block of the TE, recognizes the play and tries to bat the pass down to no avail. With playaction, it takes Flacco 3.2 seconds--no "pressure" recorded for Ayers.

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Play 5

This play wasn't a rush, but I was really impressed with the way Robert played. This was the play where he dropped into coverage and almost picked off Flacco in the flat. Ultimately his failed attempt gave up a big gain, but I can't fault him for anything here, he played it beautifully and came up a bit short.

He fakes the rush initially, breaks back to coverage in the middle of the field, recognizes Dallas Clark coming out of the backfield. From there he reads Flacco's eyes and smoothly flips his hips taking a great angle on the ball but ultimately diving for it in vein.

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Play 6

Ayers gets his first sack of the game. Flacco takes 3.4 seconds to release the ball but coverage isn't what causes the extra time. It appears as if Joe has an opening in the middle of the field between the zone coverage. Mitch Unrein from the middle however is able to break free from his block and cause Flacco to step back a bit. This brings him closer to Ayers who was guided wide of the play by McKinnie (who also hooks Ayers a bit--saw him do this several times, he definitely had some issues blocking him). Great teamwork here to get the sack. If the Broncos can manufacture some more pressure from the middle, expect more of this.

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Play 7

Flacco gets the ball out in 2.3 seconds. Robert beats McKinnie. He has set him up by using that juke move back to the inside. This time he takes it to the outside and Gets the LT off balance. McKinnie hooks him coming off the edge and if not for a quick throw by Joe this becomes sack #2.

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Wrap-Up

Ayers played a great game. As far as pressure? You win some you lose some. He was able to beat McKinnie on a consistent enough bases that at times they put the TE over to that side to chip him off the edge. He showed he can win battles with more than just a bull rush. He also showed he is still dominant in the run game and can even drop into coverage. Along with Phillips, he's the kind of player you want in this scheme-versatile defense. So uh, maybe for at least a week or two, uh, is it too much to ask to drop the unsubstantiated Ayers hate/criticisms? Like NIKE baby, just do it!

I'll be bringing my in depth look at the Giants tomorrow folks, until then--don't drive without a license, but if you do Better Call Saul!!!

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