As we will do every Saturday to get you ready for the week’s game, our X Factor of the week. Sometimes it’s a player, unit, concept, or scheme. What will make or break the Pittsburgh Steelers as travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
X Factor: Vince Williams
Last week, the X Factor was Ryan Shazier. And generally, as he went, so did the Steelers. There was the good, a forced fumble/recovery and a couple of impact tackles, and the bad, the many missed tackles and bad angles. Williams will be a similar story this week. You can bet the Ravens will do their best to stay in heavy groupings, 12 personnel, though that’s complicated by the injury to tight end Maxx Williams.
Like Chicago, the Ravens rely on their run game to carry their offense, and they use the same outside zone concepts that burned the defense last week. The issues in the run game spread across every unit so don’t think I’m singling Williams out as the lone cause; he wasn’t. You can throw a dart and it’ll land on someone who didn’t play up to snuff, except for Javon Hargrave (and to a lesser extent, LT Walton). But to fix that, a guy like Williams has to play well. Be able to avoid getting reached by a backside cut off block, make some plays in the backfield, and in the pass game, help contain Ben Watson, one of Joe Flacco’s favorite targets.
One popular concept I mentioned in their scouting report is Y Stick, a five yard out. Here’s a quick coaching point of the concept.
Williams will have to read his keys well, the Ravens rely on playaction, play fundamental football, and stop the short to medium crossing game. Might not get a lot of dime because the Ravens want to stay out of third and long and are going to be a more “traditional”offense because they lack weapons at receiver.
Vince Williams doesn’t have to play perfect. But he’s got to be much better. Steelers/Ravens is as physical and intense as it gets and that’s right in his wheelhouse. He can match the energy. Now it’s time to up his game.