By Matt Vensel
6:00 PM EDT, August 17, 2011
Armchair quarterbacks in Baltimore lamented the fact that reality quarterback Joe Flacco didn't call more audibles last season. Some believed offensive coordinator Cam Cameron didn't give enough power to Flacco. Others say the growing quarterback didn't know how to wield it. Either way, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that we can look forward to Flacco making more decisions at the line of scrimmage in 2011.
“Cam and the Ravens’ offensive coaches have done a great job of building the offense in a way that Joe really has the choice almost every play,” Harbaugh said. “Some plays … we’re going to come out and run the play no matter what. ... But in training camp, at least half the plays that we’ve called out there -- and I haven’t done a count, but I’ll bet you it’s at least half -- are plays where he has a choice to make a decision.
“He changes the run to another direction. He changes a run to a pass. He changes a pass to a maximum protection or back to a run. And he’s done a great job with that.”
It sounds like Flacco will have a bigger role than ever, so armchair quarterbacks can now question whether he should have audibled out of a key play instead of wondering if he was allowed to do so.
The fact that Flacco will have more responsibility and less people chirping in his ears -- chatty wideout Derrick Mason is gone, as is quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn -- should be a good thing for Flacco. Mason was a security blanket, but Flacco locked on to him too often. And though Flacco admirably went to bat for Zorn, it may have been a “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario with Zorn and Cameron.
The Ravens drove Flacco out of his comfort zone this offseason and are now handing over the keys to the offense. He's no longer a kid. He’s a grown-up fourth-year quarterback now. Will he seize this offense and make it his own? I can't wait to find out.
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