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Slow-paced Ravens offense has been a problem this season

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco goes under center against the San Francisco 49ers. Some say the offense's slow pace of play has hurt the team this season.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco goes under center against the San Francisco 49ers. Some say the offense's slow pace of play has hurt the team this season. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

There has been a lot of discussion about the Ravens not getting up to the line of scrimmage fast enough in the last minute of the San Francisco 49ers game Sunday, but that wasn't much of a big deal to me.

If you go back and look at the play-by-play sheet, the Ravens could have been a little faster.

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But an area where they might need to improve more is developing a faster pace with the base offense throughout the game. When Gary Kubiak and Jim Caldwell were the offensive coordinators, they always talked about having a fast pace.

They stressed to quarterback Joe Flacco to the Ravens in and out of the huddle and up to the line of scrimmage quickly.

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Not only did it help the Ravens find a rhythm, but a faster pace puts pressure on the defensive coordinator to shuffle his personnel in and out of the game faster. When that happens, there is always a possibility of a mistake and a big play.

Coach John Harbaugh has to be careful with this situation because his defense has played so poorly. You want to get in sync and find rhythm, but you also want to keep your defense off the field.

Ideally, the Ravens would like to have a lead going into the third and fourth periods, and then run the football to help control the pace. This team, though, can't hold a lead.

But after talking to two assistant coaches with other NFL teams, they definitely think the slower pace has been a problem for the Ravens offense this season.

As far as the two-minute offense, Flacco has to develop more of a sense of urgency. He is the quarterback; it's basically his show at that point.

"We were trying to get to the line as fast as we could and get the plays called as fast as we could. Could it have been done faster? Sure. We want to do it as fast as we possibly can," Harbaugh said about the last minute of Sunday's game. "It's not like we're not trying to do that. We just have to execute it better."

"We're going to try to execute everything as well as we can – as best as we can – in every kind of circumstance. That's what we coach our guys to do. We work two-minute [drills] twice a week every single week. Do we have to be better? Absolutely, we have to be better at it. We want to be quicker at it. We want to get plays called quicker."

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