In new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system, quarterbacks are required to be mobile and precise in their movements.
They're expected to execute a lot of play-action fakes, roll out to throw on the run, as well as waggle and bootleg plays. So far, quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison said he likes the way Joe Flacco has adapted to the changes and increased demands in terms of footwork.
The changes include shorter drops from center, with Flacco cutting his steps down to several three-step drops instead of the five- and seven-step drops he regularly did in the past under previous offensive coordinators Cam Cameron and Jim Caldwell.
"Watching Joe, it has been a great adjustment," Dennison said. "He's done a very good job at it. I think some of the things that we've seen, he's a great athlete. He's got good feet. He does a good job on the edge when we ask him to do some movement, all this play-pass.
"He's done a good job with the fakes. I don't know if you say how much of a tough adjustment, it's not much for him. He's done a very good job."
Entering the second year of a $120.6 million contract, Flacco is coming off a rough season.
Flacco threw a career-high and franchise-record 22 interceptions and was sacked a career-high 48 times last year. The Ravens finished 29th in total offense and the running game was one of the worst in the NFL, ranking 30th in the league. Flacco's previous career-high for interceptions in a single season was 12. He threw five interceptions in a loss to the Buffalo Bills.
On several of the interceptions, Flacco either forced a pass into a tight window or threw off his back foot. Those breakdowns in mechanics affected Flacco's accuracy.
During training camp, Flacco has been adept in how he has orchestrated the offense while building chemistry with new wide receiver Steve Smith.
Dennison praised Flacco for his athleticism and his arm strength.
"Joe is doing great," Dennison said. "He’s working really hard at it. His feet, he’s improved. What we’re trying to get him to read, get the ball out, he’s done a great job with that. He studies hard and he works hard it. He just keeps climbing.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun