If Joe Flacco has it his way, the Ravens’ experimentation with a two-quarterback offense would officially be over.
After being relegated to a mere spectator on a handful of plays in the Ravens’ 19-3 victory over the New York Jets, the Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player and the owner of the largest contract in franchise history reiterated his feelings about the wildcat offense Tuesday, going as far as to say that it makes the Ravens look like “not an NFL team.”
“I don’t like that stuff,” Flacco said Tuesday. “I think it makes you look like a high school offense.”
Flacco’s comments came just two days after the Ravens used backup Tyrod Taylor for a dozen plays against the Jets, hoping that the speedy quarterback would spark an offense that currently ranks 30th in the NFL in yards per game (308.8).
Taylor lined up as a wide receiver on seven plays and as the quarterback on five. He had four carries for seven yards and went 0-for-1 on pass attempts. On the five plays where Taylor took the direct snap, Flacco went out wide and stood there as the play unfolded, mostly keeping his hands in a front pocket and not even making an effort to get off the line of scrimmage.
When asked Tuesday whether those plays called for him to run a route, Flacco said defiantly, “I’m not doing a single thing. I’m not getting it. I’m not blocking, I’m not doing anything.”
Flacco made it clear following Sunday’s game that he wasn’t a fan of the two-quarterback arrangement, saying that it was “good and fun for a little bit, but that’s it.” However, his comments Tuesday will only fan the flames further ahead of the Ravens’ Thanksgiving night matchup against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I don’t care how we use it in the game — successful or not successful, after a big play, not after a big play. I don’t care where it’s used, I’m just not a huge fan of it,” Flacco said. “I’m the quarterback. I want to be behind the line of scrimmage, I want to be taking the snaps. That’s really the only thing. I don’t necessarily take it personally either in terms of our offense trying to get better. I just think it makes us look like not an NFL team.”
Flacco added that John Harbaugh and the Ravens coaching staff know how he feels about the issue and he doesn’t expect the team to use a two-quarterback arrangement going forward.
“We all have open conversations about it,” Flacco said. “[Taylor] understands how I feel. Listen, Tyrod is a quarterback, too. He probably feels a certain way about it, too. But having said that, we’re all going to do our best to make those plays work and execute them well. We’ll see what happens.”
The Ravens are no stranger to Flacco speaking his mind on different issues affecting the offense. He frequently clashed with former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Flacco has not been afraid to challenge the coaching staff.
However, the latest comment comes at a time where Flacco is having statistically the worst season of his career. He has already set a career-high with 14 interceptions, the same number of touchdown passes that he has. He ranks fifth in the league in interceptions, 14th in passing yards (2,742), 25th in yards per attempt (6.8), 15th in yards per game (249) and 29th in quarterback rating (76.8).
Other Ravens have been supportive of the wildcat as an added dimension and a way to get the uber athletic Taylor on the field more.
“Obviously Joe — he’d rather be lined up getting the snaps, but it’s a change-up,” running back Ray Rice said. “We’re just trying to [as] best as we can right now to improvise a little bit. Joe can be voicing his opinion, but it’s a wave that’s going on in the NFL. … It’s not our everyday offense. It’s just something that gives teams a little bit something to prepare for and know that we have it in our arsenal.”
Added tight end Ed Dickson: “As long as they don't take away from what we do well [and] it gives us a change of pace, I like it, especially when you've got a guy like Tyrod. You've got to give him the ball. We have two great quarterbacks. There are things that Tyrod can do well and Joe can do well, and we can use them both.”
Harbaugh, who wasn’t available to the media Tuesday but is expected to talk Wednesday, has been noncommittal about the team’s plans with the two-quarterback sets going forward, saying Sunday that “we’ll see” when asked if it’s something the team might go to more.
Flacco, meanwhile, has already seen it enough.
“I don’t look at it as a slap in the face to me,” Flacco said. “It is what it is. I want as many chances as I can get behind the line of scrimmage. I just don’t like that stuff in general. … I’m all for us doing things to get better but we’re not going to be good if we just can’t get good at the basics of what we do 90 percent of the time. We have to be good at those things or we’re not going to be good no matter what. I just want to make sure that we’re focusing on getting good at those things.”