Michael Nania takes a look at what former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor can offer the New York Jets.
Total snap counts
Before we get into Patrick Onwuasor’s numbers, here is a look at his career snap counts to get an idea of how large his role on the Ravens’ defense was.
Onwuasor became a key part of the defense in 2017, but he was not an every-down player over his first two seasons. He only played more than 85% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in a game one time, which was when he replaced an injured C.J. Mosley in Week 2 of 2018 (99% of snaps in a loss at Cincinnati). That was one of just two games in which Onwuasor played more than half of the defensive snaps in 2018 after he had appeared in at least 50% of the defensive snaps in 11 games the prior season.
With Mosley leaving for New York, Baltimore elevated Onwuasor to an every-down role to begin the 2019 season. He played 95% of the defensive snaps over the team’s first five games until he missed the next two with an ankle injury.
Upon returning, Onwuasor lost his starting job, playing between 15 and 42 percent of the defensive snaps in each of the nine ensuing regular-season games until he hit 53% in Baltimore’s Wild Card loss to Tennessee. The demotion was no surprise, as Onwuasor struggled with his starting role. He missed seven tackles and allowed 57.4 yards per game in coverage (on 12.5 yards per target) over his five starts.
* – 2018 and 2019 stats include Onwuasor’s performance in the playoffs.
Patrick Onwuasor was an active and involved run defender during his first season as a key part of Baltimore’s defense in 2017, but his effectiveness in that phase dwindled as his role became more passing game-centric.
While Onwuasor’s progressive reduction of snaps against the run does not have any impact on the run-defending statistics seen above since they are not volume-based, it is an interesting correlation to note.
Onwuasor was an outstanding cover linebacker in 2018, but that campaign is sandwiched between a pair of lackluster seasons in coverage.