Tuesday, August 14, 2012
No-huddle offense suits Ravens' Joe Flacco
By Jamison Hensley
The increased use of the no-huddle offense is the right plan of attack with Baltimore's Joe Flacco. If you don't believe me, just ask the quarterback himself.
“I love the no-huddle,” Flacco told the Baltimore Sun. “We’ve got to get quicker and quicker at it. I like to go up there and run a play, run a play, run a play. That’s what we’re going to be, and I think we have to make sure we get it as fast as we can."
Flacco doesn't gush often. So when he says he loves the no-huddle, this is significant. Flacco has a comfort level with the no-huddle and the shotgun because that's what he ran for most of his time at Delaware.
Some of Flacco's best moments last year came in a no-huddle, shotgun attack, even though the statistics don't necessarily support that. According to NFL.com, Flacco completed 32 of 51 passes (62.7 percent) for 302 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. But Flacco's winning drive at Pittsburgh and should-have-been winning drive in the AFC Championship Game were both in the hurry-up offense.
Despite Flacco's support, I'm not sure how much more the Ravens will use the no-huddle attack this season. The Ravens used no huddle on 7 percent of their offensive plays, which already put them in the top half of the league.
The trouble with the no huddle is when it fails, which happened quite often in the Ravens' preseason opener. A three-and-out results in little time run off the clock and quick change in possession. The Patriots, who used the no huddle the most last season, ranked 26th in time of possession. Going to more no huddle could put a Ravens defense, which has three new starters, on the field longer.
“It works really well when you convert; it doesn’t look so good when you don’t convert,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “When we have situations during the season, if we are out there, if we chose to go that tempo, that we don’t convert, our defense is going to have to get stops. When we do convert, we are going to build some momentum on our opponents."
Harbaugh added, "You have to understand how that goes. That’s something that we have been practicing from the beginning, so obviously, that’s going to be a big part of what we do. We just have to pick our spots and all that.”