Ravens Need to Set Up Flacco Deep Bombs
Last season the Ravens valued the Flacco bomb as their most valuable weapon. In accordance to Jim Caldwell’s conviction, the Ravens gameplan was essentially go deep. Teams would be waiting for it with a variety of Cover 2 man under, Cover 3 and even quarters coverage. Each of these coverages are beatable but each of these coverages account for the big play down the field. Baltimore literally watched its team run through a brick wall. The Flacco arm is one of the world wonders but when the deep bomb is overused there will be struggles.
The Ravens offense was designed to fail because it was designed without protection. The offensive line was abysmal to a degree that I have never seen. The obvious explanation: we spread teams out and throw the deep pass without sufficient pass protection exposing the cannon that is Joe Flacco to be neutralized. With such an abysmal line the ball must come out of the quarterbacks hands quickly; which can not happen on the 5 and 7 step drop backs with inflexible deep routes as the QB’s progression.
So in two paragraphs I have addressed the Ravens problems except for the running game (which is obviously important). It is literally this simple to diagnose the Baltimore Ravens 2013 mess. I have written about this in great detail already, however it is crucial to understanding the following points.
In 2014 the Baltimore Ravens need to run the ball effectively, consider protection in the play-calling process and set up the deep bomb, rather than stubbornly blasting it. I do not mean to trivialize the job of Gary Kubiak and company, a group that is 100,000 times more qualified than an opinionated blogger. I just wish to point out that its not rocket science and the solution’s simplicity is beautiful.
The Ravens first step is running the football effectively. With Kubiak, Dennison and Castillo crafting the offense, this should naturally happen. Let us assume that this step is already taken care of and we can focus on the fun stuff.
The Ravens will be running a form of the west coast offense; and offense that values efficiency and most of all precision. There will be quick and simple route combinations that make for a simple progression. There will be a wide variety of routes and formations but will use the staple routes of the offense. Expect many quick slants, tight end curls and backs with wheel, Texas and swing routes. The short and intermediate passing game will make the defense cover the entire width of the field.
With a more balanced passing game defenses are forced to play the Ravens differently. They would no longer be
able to cover deep and blitz to the hearts’ content to easily stop the purple and black. If they want to defend the Ravens as they would last season, Joe will be delighted to nickel and dime them down the field.
The Ravens want to take advantage of the play-action pass like Kubiak’s Texans always did; especially off the stretch play. This is where the Ravens big plays come from. When you have a respected running game defense has no choice to read run and to their chagrin it will be a pass.
The last detail I want to address is adaptability. This is the part that says let’s run around the brick wall or climb over it. Not only do the Ravens need to set up the deep pass (per example slants open up sluggos) they need to take what is there. The routes need to adjust to the defense and the quarterback has to recognize it as well. This is regardless of many of the play calls. It is the coaches job to put the players in the best position possible. Ultimately avoiding a bad play is in the control of the players.
The Baltimore Ravens have a fresh start. Joe Flacco’s arm is our best weapon. They need to start going around the wall instead of punching through it. They’ll score so much more.