Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Buzz about Flacco


The town is buzzing about Joe Flacco. Many observers were a bit surprised by his play on Sunday but don’t count the Ravens coaches and front office execs among those defining the performance as an eye opening experience.

Ravens’ offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was hardly shy about implementing plays and gadgets never before seen in this part of the country despite the rookie behind center. What many don’t understand is that Flacco primarily operated out of a shotgun formation at Delaware and often called plays at the line of scrimmage after receiving sideline signals. Clearly he was in his comfort zone.

The bigger challenge for Flacco will be to maintain his poise and keep the offense in synch in hostile conditions like Reliant Stadium, the home of the Houston Texans. The Texans were 6-2 at home last season and they are reeling from their recent thrashing at the hands of the Steelers. That said don’t expect Joe Flacco to rest on his laurels. Word is he was one of the first players at the complex on Monday already in prep mode for this Sunday’s game.

Todd Heap certainly didn’t help his quarterback much against the Bengals. The usually sure-handed former Pro Bowl tight end fumbled Flacco’s very first career pass and then dropped a couple other passes, one of which would have been a touchdown. That’s what happens when you don’t practice and don’t experience the contact.

Heap wasn’t the only player to let Flacco down. Ray Rice would still be running with the football had he not dropped a pass over the middle of the field and in stride. Rice would later fumble the football on a quick pitch leading to a Bengals score. Those two miscues resulted in a 14 point swing. Word is that Cam Cameron wanted Flacco to check out of the quick pitch after recognizing that the play was doomed from the start given the Bengals’ defensive alignment. Rice tried to make something from nothing although nothing in hindsight looks a lot better than six the other way.

Speaking of six, Mark Clayton got his but he easily could have added another. He was behind Johnathan Joseph on a deep post that was underthrown by Flacco. Clayton is not generally regarded as a deep threat and his size or lack thereof is to blame. However Clayton does possess outstanding change of direction skills and he is effective gaining separation after a double move. That combined with Flacco’s ability to look off safeties and pump fake should influence Cam Cameron as the season unfolds.

Give Cameron credit for an effective game plan that kept the Bengals off balance and allowed the offensive line to dictate the action on the field. Also give Cameron some well deserved praise for finding a diamond in the rough in Le’Ron McClain. McClain never carried the ball more than 17 times in a season for the Crimson Tide yet on Sunday he carried it 19 times for 86 yards. Rex Ryan has deservedly been credited with the ability to utilize the athletic prowess of his defenders in such a way that makes them more productive on the field and bigger contributors to the team effort. Perhaps John Harbaugh has found the same kind of coach on the offensive side as well.

Apparently neither coordinator showed very much during the preseason (which by the way is the NFL’s biggest fraud) because what the Ravens did on Sunday, granted it was against the Cincinnati Bengals, is more indicative of the things we can expect from the Ravens going forward. Harbaugh’s coaching staff is not held back by the “protect the football-defend well-control the clock” formula that the previous administration used as a crutch. This team looks like it will play to win as opposed to playing not to lose and they appear far more inclined to experiment – the jumbo backfield, double reverse and unbalanced offensive line recently featured are prime examples.
Photo by Rick Noppenberger

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

anyone else notice that Peter King seems to have a serious axe to grind regarding the ravens and flacco???? he takes a subtle shot every chance he can in his columns so far this year....even the other day, he referred to flacco as "shaky" against the bengals....today he refers to the ravens-texans tilt as "uninspiring" and says that flacco hasn't accomplished anything yet...i'm thinking it's because he had us taking henne pre-draft and had egg on his face....what gives??

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 9 12 08
First, who in the HECK Cares what PETER KING says? I read our local writers first; AARON WILSON is the BEST man for Ravens Coverage; PERIOD!
...Take 3 plays in the Bengals game and see what kind of National Attn we get then?
... Heap drops a pass in the end zone:
...Flacco Under throws Clayton who was wide open:
... and Flacco puts the ball in Ray Rice's hands on that Dropped pass over the middle.
... That is 21 more point folks; and could have been a 38-3 embarrassing blow out.
...Sundays final score does not reflect the Severe beating that the Ravens inflicted on the Bengals.
...I'm not much for Predictions; Lets just watch THE TEAM continue to get better: And here is a request for JOE FLACCO...Demetrius Williams
is wearing # 87 out there.

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 9 12 08
First, who in the HECK Cares what PETER KING says? I read our local writers first; AARON WILSON is the BEST man for Ravens Coverage; PERIOD!
...Take 3 plays in the Bengals game and see what kind of National Attn we get then?
... Heap drops a pass in the end zone:
...Flacco Under throws Clayton who was wide open:
... and Flacco puts the ball in Ray Rice's hands on that Dropped pass over the middle.
... That is 21 more point folks; and could have been a 38-3 embarrassing blow out.
...Sundays final score does not reflect the Severe beating that the Ravens inflicted on the Bengals.
...I'm not much for Predictions; Lets just watch THE TEAM continue to get better: And here is a request for JOE FLACCO...Demetrius Williams
is wearing # 87 out there.