Hindsight Discusion: Brandon Williams

Discussion in 'Baltimore Ravens' started by ravens_R_#1, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. ravens_R_#1 Legend Ravens

    So the russell street boards were discussing Brandon Williams and it made me question how the folks on this board felt about him. It also made me wonder how people felt about a few other players that I'll create threads on in the future (long offseason after all). So let's get into it. Last offseason, there was a big decision on whether the Ravens should pay Brandon Williams, or Ricky Wagner.

    To start with Wagner, he had his worst season of his career so far He had 3 penalties, which ties for his second most in a season, but the big issue is that he allowed 6 total sacks. His previous high was 2.5 sacks allowed in a season. I don't follow Detroit to know if he played injured or anything, but his performance definitely took a dive.

    For Williams, he was the highly paid D-lineman on a Ravens defense that gave up a 4+ ypc average for the first time in the Ravens existence. An argument was made during the season about the Ravens giving up big gains on the ground while Williams was out, but Baltimore ended the season with the Browns, Colts, and Bengals combining for 369 rushing yards, and none of them is a team to be feared on the ground. Williams was also arguably the #2 d-lineman on the team as Pierce was better against the run, against the pass, and was actually double teamed more. In fact, Pierce pushed Williams out of the NT spot to the DE spot whenever they both were on the field.

    As someone that wanted Wagner kept over Williams, I still don't like the decision made. BUT I'll take it one step further, if the team was going to keep a d-lineman, they should have kept Jernigan. I said it in 2016, you keep the guy who's a threat against the pass while pretty solid against the run vs the guy that's very good (not great) against the run and useless against the pass. Jernigan, for the record, was ranked something like 9th among all d-lineman, if memory serves me. Both he and Pierce ranked above Williams.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Kyreal Franchise Player Ravens

    I think that Williams is a really good D. Lineman when healthy. He was never HEALTHY last season in my opinion. Do I think the Ravens made a mistake by signing him to that big contract? Yes i do. Why? Because he is not a Haloti Ngata or Warren Sapp. He is Kelly Gregg or a Siragusa to me. He is very good against the run and sucks in the pass rush. He isn't worth a big contract at all, shouldn't be paid more than 5 mil a year at best.

    Rick Wagner also played hurt all season in my opinion. He was a serviceable right tackle but nothing more than that. He can't handle the left side due to his lack of quickness of feet so the Ravens were correct in letting him go.

    Timmy Jernigan was going to sign for Ngata money if he had stayed which the Ravens simply couldn't commit to. They also did the right thing in trading him and getting something for him instead of not getting anything when he would have been let to walk away just like McPhee, Kruger and others were allowed to do. I didn't hear much of him this past season so I think he also regressed but I am not sure. Either way, it was smart of them to get something for nothing because they had no plans on giving him the big payday he was wanting.
  3. ravens_R_#1 Legend Ravens

    I'm going to disagree with a few things, Kyreal. First in that Williams is not Kelly Gregg. Gregg could actually collapse the pocket and he could occasionally generate pressure. He did average 3 sacks a season from when they switched to the 3-4, and it's hard to forget him chasing down Michael Vick in the backfield for a sack.

    The second thing is Jernigan. We didn't really get anything for him. We moved up a few spots in the 4th to draft Chris Wormley and keep him inactive most of the season. That's a poor trade-off to me for a guy ranked as a much higher d-lineman (by pff) than anybody on our team. Also, what quantifies as "Ngata" Mone? 5 years, $60M was about what Ngata got on his last big deal. I'd definitely give that to Jernigan, who could stop the run and generate a pass rush, instead of giving Williams 5 years, 52.5M to be a two-down player.

    Also, McPhee and Kruger got us 3rd and/or 4th round comp picks. I'd take those individual picks over moving up a few spots. To me, those 3 players were handled poorly
  4. Kyreal Franchise Player Ravens

    I will concede that Gregg did occasionally get a sack but nearly all of them were coverage sacks, he didn't just get many quick sacks. I loved the guy though, he never quit and had a high motor always but Williams style of play is very close to him instead of a Sapp or Ngata imo, hence the comparison.

    "The Baltimore Ravens traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and a third-round compensatory pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for their third-round pick, it was announced Tuesday.

    The Ravens will move up 25 spots in the third round -- from No. 99 to No. 74 overall -- in exchange for a starting defensive tackle who likely was not going to get re-signed after this season."

    25 spots in the draft for a guy that wasn't in the team's plans after that season because of the salary cap. This kind of move mimics the Patriots in how they move players that price themselves off of the team. Granted the team missed on the pick, so it would seem, but time will tell if Wormley improves or not. Did the Ravens make a mistake in deciding to keep Brandon over Timmy? Maybe, but Timmy's production dropped off big time in the 2nd half of the season before whereas Brandon's improved.

    The salary cap is doing what it was meant to do, make a team make costly and very hard decisions on players after the first few seasons. Do you pay them and potentially put your team into salary cap hell? (2001 season comes to mind) or do you let them go and hope you can restock with cheap drafted replacements.... Unfortunately, you cannot keep all the good upcoming players on your team, not the way the system is currently formatted.
  5. ravens_R_#1 Legend Ravens

    That part about Jernigan is my exact issue. They traded away a good player to move up in the draft and ultimately draft a guy they wouldn't use. It'd have been much better to let Timmy actually play out his contract, get the beat from him in a contract year, and then get a 3rd round comp pick for him next year (assuming he actually does get Ngata money).

    You end up with a guy playing his ass off for a contract, instead of a guy inactive more than half a season. And you get a completely new draft pick next year instead of just moving up last year to draft said guy to be inactive. Worst part, there's not even a guarantee Wormley will even play much next year, especially if/when the Ravens continue with their obsession of drafting d-lineman in the 3rd again this year.

    An unappreciated topic in 2017 is that Michael Pierce graded headed out as a better run stopper than Williams. He also faced more double teams and took over the NT position, pushing Williams to DE, whenever he came in. A team that routinely finds good D-lineman overpaid for a 2 down guy who isn't even Kelly Gregg
    Kyreal likes this.
  6. showstopper Franchise Player Browns

    FSU guy all the way...hell they just had a great SB win w Darby, Bradham, Jernigan and Patrick Robinson
  7. Tenacious Faulk M.V.P. Ravens

    I think that we were all saying when Jeringan was traded that he wasn't living up to his draft pick. In fact, I recall him being ranked as 1st rd talent with a kind of poor work ethic and some off field issue. Then there reports from DL coach Cullen and Pees that he was lackadaisical in practice. Personally, I wish we could've kept him at a reasonable price, but not at the expense of Williams who was blowing up the run until this year. Some of that 4yds/carry is due to him being out and playing injured as well. He was the smart choice between the two imo.

    The choice between Wagner and Williams is a bit more muddy and can be debated for a decade. Joe may have had more time to throw from the pocket on a handful more passes. I can't say whether Wagner would've made more of a difference in the run game too since Detroit's entire rushing corps barely cracked 1000 yds combined with him. We had the same issue when he started was here in 2016.

    Williams performance may end up being due to nagging injuries. Even Haloti Nagata had those seasons. Williams' 2017 was disappointing but I'm not ready to call his signing bad until he as another bad performance.
  8. jazznbluz Franchise Player Ravens

    I like Jernigan, but he tended to fade as the season progressed. Whether that was from a lackadaisical practice routine or other reasons, I thought it was a good trade at the time.

    Wagner is an excellent pass blocker, but a weak run blocker. As the Ravens wanted more from their run game, it was wise to let him go.

    Brandon Williams scouting report: "...exploded on the scene as a redshirt sophomore, earning those All-American honors and first-team All-MIAA accolades with 50 stops, 17 for loss, and nine sacks despite starting just the final seven games after starting the year coming off the bench. He started nine of the team?s 10 games in 2011, racking up 16 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Williams has also tipped 12 passes at the line during his first three seasons. In 2012, Williams was named the MIAA defensive player of the year with 68 tackles (16.5 for loss), 8.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles."

    BW is one of my favorite Ravens players and i was glad they re-signed him. As most have mentioned, he was injured most of year, either missing games or probably not playing at 100%. But....we also have to remember what one of Pees' greatest deficiencies were and usually a heated topic among us. Besides calling plays that let the other team win games in the final seconds/minutes of the game, Pees also tried to fit squares pegs into round holes. He was so uncompromising in his approach that he frequently refused to allow a player to play to his strength, especially if that strength did not fit his system. Brandon Williams fits that description. I do remember that scouting report and thinking the Ravens got the steal of the draft. I also remember the hit he put on Ben, I think it was during his rookie year, when he blitzed, got to Ben very quickly, just about planted Ben like a bed of spring bulbs.

    When healthy, BW is a monster against the run. He has shown that he can get to the QB when given the opportunity. I'm curious to see how Wink, who loves to blitz, uses him.
    BaltSportsfan likes this.
  9. BaltSportsfan Starter Patreon Silver Ravens

    Thanks Jazz, and this is the statement of the year for me with the defensive side of the ball. I want to know how someone with an actual imagination would utilize our defensive players. I feel that we have wasted some of their talent (Williams, Bowser, ZSmith come to mind) in not designing packages to allow them (even as rookies) to show their pass rush skills. I thought Williams would be allowed to go nuts in some blitz or passing down situations and I never really saw it. Maybe they tried it and he never caught on fast enough, but with the stable of really talented and blossoming OLB's we have, I would have thought our rotation would have been more productive.

    Perhaps I am off base and missed those plays/packages, but I thought that would have been a good use of their talents early.

    I want to see a throw back to the old days where we would be much more aggressive on the defensive side and take some chances. I feel that this is what is best also for Weddle and Jefferson. Pressure causes errant throws and our corners and safeties are built for that. They are pretty wily veterans and I think that they would absolutely love it. Having them sit back and drop into straight coverage for extended periods is not what they are good at.

    Bottom line, I would love to see some risk taking as well as some thoughtful and creative uses for the talented defensive roster we have.
    jazznbluz likes this.
  10. Tenacious Faulk M.V.P. Ravens

    I agree. Pees took a measured, methodical approach to the defense and tried like BB on offense to make his players more genralists than specialists. He didn't like to take risks, but that's what he did in NE. I still think his system has merit but couldn't make it work with the players he had which is why so many young players ended up healthy scratches on gameday.

    Not sure what to expect from Wink. Hopefully he can take the D to new heights.
  11. ravens_R_#1 Legend Ravens

    I'm honestly curious if this is just a collective excuse being given to him and stated as fact or if I missed a report. If the former, then it's not really valid. Every NFL player is playing with some bumps and bruises after two weeks. It's a physical sport. Why aren't we giving that same excuse late in the season to every player? It was reported that Joe had a back issue for most of the year, but when he sucked we all simply said he played poorly right? Jimmy had an achilles that was ready to tear since preseason, yet he STILL played like an elite corner until week 13 when it finally ripped. We used to praise Mason for playing one handed, SSS for playing with busted ribs, Joe for finishing a game on a torn acl, etc. Williams "might" have a boo-boo or two and that gives him a pass on playing poorly

    As fans, we overrate players we like. Players that seem cool because of their personality (Torrey), a movie (all the Oher love early in his career), dancing ability (Williams), or because articles are made to make them seem cool (Jensen). A d-lineman being paid 10M a year to be a run stopping NT, yet gets pushed to DE when another player enters the field (Pierce) because that player is BETTER against the run is simply an overpaid and overrated player. Keep in mind it's the coaches who realized this and made that decision. Pierce was a better run stopper and saw more double teams. Yet Pierce still did Williams' job better than Williams. But the Ravens will never take time away from one of their guys they (over)paid.

    Of course this is all just my opinion :)........although others seem to share it.


    Williams ranked 25th, Pierce ranked 20th (Jernigan ranked 19th).

    And then there was Pierce being ranked the 2nd best DT against the run going into the season (no, Williams wasn't #1).

  12. beachbum M.V.P. Steelers Manager

    You'll know how the team feels about BW if they restructure his contract this year. They need the space and he provides them with the most savings. If there's any buyer's remorse they will likely look elsewhere.
  13. ravens_R_#1 Legend Ravens

    Maybe. The fans may have a positive or negative opinion, but I doubt the coaches turn on him after just one season. I think they paid too much for a 2 down player, but they may be perfectly fine with it still
  14. Tenacious Faulk M.V.P. Ravens

    We have look at context here too. Last year Pierce was a rookie and Williams had already proven himself worthy of a veteran contract. Injuries are not all the same with some seemingly small ones sidelining the strongest men. Turf toe for instance can sideline anyone. BW's foot is in that category. Smith's Achillies I'll say is not. Speaking of someone that had an Achillies strain near my heel, it didn't stop me from doing competitive athletics yet my Dr. said that if I kept it up it was a matter "when" not "if" it tore. I chose to ratchet it back instead. BW's foot (if painful and/or weak) wouldn't allow him to do his job and Pierce made more sense for the NT role THIS year. Perhaps next year BW will resume the role? Injuries occur. We'll have to see if the team wants to restructure this offseason or next AND if they move him back to NT to see if he'st returned to form or not. Lot's of variables in this assessment and I don't think that his story is the leading factor in how they or even most fans feel about the man.

    Also the PFF ratings reflect this too. They reflect their performance fro when they played but not specific to one position which is especially true in BW/Pierce's case. Also HOW they are used and how a defense is structured is another factor. There were similar convos back in the day about Ray Lewis not garnering as many sacks because they switched from 4-3 to 3-4 where he switched to mostly run support.
  15. ravens_R_#1 Legend Ravens

    Worthy for a veteran contract and worthy of 10M+ a year aren't the same to me.

    I asked this question previously and nobody can answer it. Can anyone provide literally anything that says Williams played the whole season injured or is it just a convenient excuse fans are giving him?

    Anyone judging an ILB/MLB based on sacks was already setting themselves up for failure. With that said, Ray's highest ever sack total was in the 3-4 and the three seasons prior to the switch to the 3-4, his sack numbers as a 4-3 MLB dropped heavily from his early seasons.

    Wait, I just checked. Ray's first 7 seasons in a 3-4 (2005-2011) saw a higher sack average than his last 7 seasons in a 4-3 (1998-2004). Now I really don't get why anyone made this argument.

    For disclaimer purposes, I'm not specifically saying Williams wasn't worth the contract due to 2017 play. I didn't think he was worth the contract in 2016 when I knew they had to decide between him and Jernigan. I didn't think he was worth it when they picked him over Wagner either. 2017 just enforced it further for me.
  16. Tenacious Faulk M.V.P. Ravens

    If I recall, right we all said "seeya Timmy!" for the money that he he was going to command for the work he put in was academic. He was not liked enough among the coaching staff for his lack of work ethic to retain while Williams at the time of his contract was who demonstrated the work ethic they wanted. They were deep at DL. I don't believe that BWs injury is an an excuse for his play as he's was legitimately injured. With Williams on the field for the first two games, the Ravens allowed 85 rushing yards/game, 3.95 yards/carry and no rushing touchdowns (per Jeff Zrebiec). In four games with Williams out, the Ravens surrendered 169.5 rushing yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns. Jernigan being shown the door was the kick in th ass he needed to put forth a better work ethic in practice and live up to his potential. Is he better than BW? That's deatable, but he had attitude red flags when drafted, he fell from 1st rd consideration and didn't deserve to be resigned if they had other needs. I would've loved to keep the guy, but nothing in Bmore was motivating him or had the supporting cast to help him shine.
  17. ravens_R_#1 Legend Ravens

    We all didn't. I said at worst, they should let him play out his final year here, as you'd likely get the best performance out of him in a contract year. Then if you don't want him, you net an additional draft pick instead of moving up x amount of spots. End result, Jernigan was graded out higher than any and every d-lineman on the Ravens. If he does cash out, as many assume, he would have have gotten Baltimore a brand new 3rd rounder and possibly helped win at least one more game, which is all the team needed to make the post season.

    We all know he was injured. He missed 4 games. The question I'm asking is, can anyone provide literally anything to suggest he was still playing injured in the final 3 games of the season. Anything at all outside of fan speculation?

    To end 2016, with a healthy Williams, the Ravens gave up 150 yards on the ground average in the last 3 games and 5 total rushing TDs. Did Williams have an injury then?

    To end 2017, the Ravens game up an average of 123 yards on the ground to three bad rushing teams at a time when they needed to get in playoff mode. I'm still waiting for literally anything even suggesting he was playing injured this late in the season (injured enough for the fan excuses).

    {QUOTE="Tenacious Faulk, post: 544506, member: 316"]Jernigan being shown the door was the kick in th ass he needed to put forth a better work ethic in practice and live up to his potential.[/QUOTE]

    I don't believe this. I believe he simply balled out in a contract year like 100% of all NFL players try to do. The potential money he's going to get in a month or so was likely a far greater motivator than being traded.

    {QUOTE="Tenacious Faulk, post: 544506, member: 316"]Is he better than BW? That's deatable, but he had attitude red flags when drafted, he fell from 1st rd consideration[/QUOTE]

    Is it really debatable though? Let's compare Jernigan's "lazy" 2016 to Williams' 2016 that supposedly earned him a contract

    Jeringan - 1 INT, 1 FR, 0 PD, 5 sacks, 31 total tackles.
    Williams - 0 INT, 0 FR, 1 PD, 1 sack, 51 total sacks

    Random thing I just noticed. In terms of surface value numbers, 2017 was actually Jernigan's worst season of his career. Yet he was rated higher than Williams. I just can't let hype get to me anymore about players. Learned my lesson from a few players. I said this when Jernigan was traded. In a passing league, the d-lineman that can rush the QB, get sacks or at least get pressure yet can still hold up against the run will ALWAYS be more valuable than the 2 down guy who can only stop the run.

    If anything, Jernigan was traded because d-lineman that can rush the passer have been getting 12M a year or more. The Ravens have a tendency to overpay drafted players in order to guarantee they stay (many examples). Overpaying a 2 down d-lineman comes out cheaper than overpaying a more complete player (see salaries of 3 down lineman who rush the passer than start at 12M and go as high as 19M per year). A huge example of Williams being overpaid is that his paid slightly more than Cameron Heyward. Steeler or not, Heyward is flat out better against the run and light-years ahead of Williams as a pass rusher.

    Ugh, I hate that I even looked at all that. Now I really see how badly the Ravens overpaid Williams. No reason he should make more than Heyward, Derek Wolfe, Mike Daniels, Corey Liuget, Kyle Williams, or even Damon Harrison. A team that finds quality d-lineman without even looking overpays a two down guy. If they didn't want to pay Jernigan or Wagner then they should have just let all 3 walk and spent the cap money somewhere else
  18. Tenacious Faulk M.V.P. Ravens

    The reports from Harbaugh and Pees back then were that that they loved his talent, hated his work ethic. Maybe he knew he wasn't in the right defensive scheme, but he didn't appear to make the right effort to fit the system as many other players do. That played into the decision to let him go.

    Further, the sack totals for these two in 2016 is misleading. Jernigan wasn't an NT and BW's assignment was to stop the run which he did and does. It's apples and oranges. Even on the Eagles 4-3 he's not a true NT like BW. If they put Jernigan in at NT, I'm not so sure he'd have had the same success you highlite. He's not built like BW; he's smaller and more agile and not what the Ravens were looking for in a 3-4 NT. You could make a better argument that the FO screwed up by not retaining Timmy instead and then building around him in a base 4-3 defense. That makes sense.

    And I'm not saying that BWs contract isn't bloated (95% of them seem to be anyway) but you know as well as any that these get re-negotiated when necessary and not only when they underperform. If you say that they missed an opportunity I agree to a point, but they made a decision to stay base 3-4 and Jernigan was not in their future plans for a variety of reasons.
  19. ravens_R_#1 Legend Ravens

    Slight clarification, I'm not comparing their 2016 play to see who's better or who would be a better NT. I'll never claim Jernigan should be anyone's NT. My argument was in regards of who was more valuable to the team. In this passing league we all love, a pass rusher at any position will always, or at least should always, be more valuable than a run stopper. It's just how it works and why the highest paid defensive players tend to be passing game factor players.

    My argument is also that a team who find run stoppers literally everywhere possible (draft, free agency, undrafted, etc) should not have invested 10M+ per season on a 2 down NT who's already being kicked out to DE when another of those undrafted run stoppers walks on the field with him.

    But I guess we'll agree to disagree on this one. I'm about to think about the next discussion.
    Tenacious Faulk likes this.

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