- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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"It’s a timing offense, and to me, Joe is really built for that," coach John Harbaugh said.
In Kubiak's new system, Flacco likely will be asked to get the ball out quicker. Kubiak is teaching him to throw when he hits the ball of his foot on the three-step drop. The West Coast offense is predicated on rhythm and quick releases.
Based on last season's numbers, the Ravens may be on to something. Flacco was better when he had less time in the pocket, according to Pro Football Focus.
It came as a surprise to see that Flacco had put up better statistics with less time in the pocket. With his big arm, it was assumed he would've performed better when he had more time to look downfield. That wasn't the case in 2013.
With less than 2 seconds in the pocket, Flacco completed 68.3 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer rating was 80.5.
With more than 3 seconds to throw, he connected on 46.2 percent of his passes for two touchdown and four interceptions. His rating was 61.1.
Getting Flacco to throw the ball quicker also will help with his longevity. He was sacked a career-high 48 times last season, and he was limping in the final two games because of a knee sprain. During the past six seasons, Flacco hasn't missed a start, but he has been sacked 222 times. Only the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger (240) and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers (223) have been sacked more.
There also will be more targets for his short-to-intermediate throws this season. He can hit wide receiver Steve Smith on a comeback route or find tight ends Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels over the middle. This should increase the efficiency for Flacco, whose 6.94 yards per attempt ranks 21st in the NFL since 2008.
Asked if Kubiak's offense is catered to what he does best as a quarterback, Flacco said: "I feel like I fit well into any offense. It’s just a matter of learning it and doing what I can do to the best of my ability and making sure that what I’m doing well is what the offensive coordinator wants, and what the quarterback coach wants. I want to run the offense the way it is supposed to be run and make some plays here and there when they need to be made.
"But the biggest thing is doing what you’re supposed to do, going to the right place with the ball with the right coverages. That’s just learning the offense and listening to your coach and making sure you get comfortable doing it that way.”
3dEric D. Williams
2dEric D. Williams