Baltimore Ravens

Ravens' new blocking scheme will lead to complaints about chop blocks

Apparently the Pittsburgh Steelers complained about the Ravens chop blocking, and it was only a matter of time before NFL teams called the Ravens out. The Ravens are using a blocking scheme similar to the one used in Denver when John Elway was the quarterback and Terrell Davis was the featured running back.

Back then, many  teams complained about the Broncos' chop blocks. When the Ravens played the Denver back in the early 2000's, the Ravens often complained about how the Broncos illegally chopped defensive linemen.


This year, I saw the Ravens chop block Kelly Gregg in the first preseason game against Kansas City, and wrote in a column the next day that they were chop blocking players more than I had ever seen. I recently talked with former Ravens offensive guard Wally Williams about the new Ravens style, and he said it should help the team, especially running backRay Rice.

In this scheme, the play-side linemen engage defensive players and try to keep their shoulder pads square. The backside linemen want to cut off pursuit, and that's why you see a lot of chop blocking on defensive linemen. They key is for Rice to be able to make a quick decision on the play side and accelerate through the hole, as opposed to previous years when he floated on stretch plays, and then cut back.


At times, Rice appeared slow in his decision making, which is part of the reason the Ravens went with a new scheme.

This scheme worked for years in Denver because the Broncos had light offensive linemen, but quick, darting running backs like Rice.

Ideally, and you saw it a lot in the Pittsburgh game, the Ravens want to run Rice outside the tackles in space.

As far as the complaining, you're going to hear more of it this season. But until officials call it illegal, it's all part of the game just like it was in Denver.