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4. If the Ravens want to get the most out of Joe Flacco, maybe they should stop trying to mold him into a drop back passer and start playing to more of his strengths. That means putting him in the shotgun, increasing the tempo of the offense, and getting him into a rhythm with short, quick throws.
(Oct 31, after the Ravens rallied from a 24-3 deficit to beat the Cardinals.)
I still believe some of this is absolutely true, but had the Ravens taken my advice and shifted to an offense where Flacco lined up primarily in the shotgun for the rest of the year, I seriously doubt their running game would be in great shape for the playoffs. Maybe Flacco's stats would be better, but I'm not sure the team would be better. Look at what happened to the Falcons and Matt Ryan, who plays primarily out of the shotgun. It looks good when you play indoors, but if you run into a team with a good pass rush, and you're trying to throw the ball into a little bit of wind, you can get into trouble quickly. Ryan's game against the Giants was maybe the worst performance by a quarterback in the playoffs. Would Atlanta have looked so inept on offense if they had credible play-action fakes? I suppose it's impossible to say, but the Ravens definitely didn't play their best football late in the season because they gave Flacco the ball more. They played their best football because they gave Ray Rice the ball more. And that wouldn't have been practical out of the shotgun. I still think it's something Baltimore should try to use when their offense is stuck in neutral, even if they only use the hurry-up to shake the cobwebs free, or get themselves out of a trance. But let's be honest: Flacco isn't Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger. Putting him in the shotgun on every play would have been a bad idea.
January 1, 2012