Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Ravens.
5.73 -- Ray Rice’s yards per carry in 2011 when running on either side of Michael Oher, per Pro Football Focus.
If, as expected, Bryant McKinnie starts the season opener at left tackle, Oher will remain at right tackle for a second consecutive season. His pass blocking has been scrutinized -- that’s what happens when you are the subject of a best-selling book partially based on the left tackle position -- but Rice was most successful when running between right guard Marshal Yanda and Oher last season. On 32 attempts through that gap, Rice averaged 6.1 yards per carry. And when running off right tackle, Rice averaged 5.4 yards per carry -- and scored two touchdowns -- on 34 carries. That averages out to 5.73 yards per pop when Rice ran behind Oher.
50 -- the percentage of 2011 snaps when the Ravens defense used the nickel package, per Football Outsiders.
As I wrote early in training camp, the battle between Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith for the starting corner spot opposite Lardarius Webb is significant to those two players, but it might not as significant for the team as one might think. Last season, the Ravens deployed five defensive backs -- aka their nickel package -- about half of the time. Because Smith was hobbled by an ankle injury, he played just 337 snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Webb, Williams and Smith will likely play a similar amount of snaps in 2012 -- and with a bunch of elite quarterbacks on the schedule, we should see plenty of all three.
18 -- quarterback hurries by outside linebacker Paul Kruger in 373 snaps last season, per Pro Football Focus.
The Ravens have been understandably coy about whether Kruger will play rush linebacker or strong-side linebacker. I suspect he will see action at both spots depending on the situation. Either way, though, he is one of a few defenders who will be counted on to up their pass-rush production with Terrell Suggs sidelined at least until November. In 2011, Kruger shed the “bust” label by recording 6.5 sacks in 18 games, including playoffs, mostly as a situational pass rusher. He also hit the quarterback an additional four times and forced a rushed throw on 18 plays, according to Pro Football Focus, while rushing the passer on 260 of his 373 snaps.
1 -- the percentage of 2011 snaps when the Ravens used more than three wide-outs, per Football Outsiders.
One of the most interesting battles during training camp and the preseason was watching a group of young, diversely talented receivers compete for the three spots on the depth chart behind Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. Second-year player LaQuan Williams became one of the stars of camp with a bunch of acrobatic catches and appears to be the fourth-best wideout. Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson earned roster spots, too. But we’re probably going to see those guys almost exclusively on special teams. As we saw in 2011, the Ravens like spreading teams out -- but they do it with backs and tight ends.
22.7 -- points per game for Joe Flacco and the Ravens in their past three meetings with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Much was made about Flacco’s struggles against the Bengals and their exotic zone-coverage schemes in 2009 and 2010 -- so much that Ravens coach John Harbaugh once got a little testy with a reporter who asked him about Flacco and the Cover-Two scheme. During that span, the Bengals took three straight games against the Ravens, including sweeping the season series in 2009. The Ravens averaged 10.3 points in those games. But the Ravens have reeled off a three-game winning streak of their own against the Bengals, with the team scoring 68 points combined in those three wins and Flacco tossing three touchdowns and two picks. We'll see if they can make it four straight Monday night.
Bloggers note: Have a nifty Ravens statistic you want to share? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Twitter at @mattvensel. If I end up using it, I’ll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.