It’s been said many times that if teams can force the opponent to think then half the battle on a given play has been won.
Thinking forces a player to slow down. No longer can players simply employ their finely tuned reactive skills. They are forced to mentally process the changing environment that surrounds them.
When they do, they slow down.
When they slow down they diminish their effectiveness.
Teams study each other on film prior to games. They study tendencies. They memorize them and in doing it allows them to play faster – unless of course a new wrinkle is introduced.
Misdirection helps. A fake reverse forces the edge setter to hold his ground and not scrape down the line of scrimmage and that might create an opening inside the tackle position. A well-designed screen might cause a pass rush specialist to take it down a notch going forward if the screen burned him earlier in the game.
And then there are gadget plays.
The Ravens have really never been much of a gadget team. They practice gadgets during training camp yet somewhere along the way, the coaching staff gets cold feet and reverts back to their comfort zone. All the talk about involving a very good football player in the offense, Tyrod Taylor, ends up being little more than hot air.
But whether they produce positive yards or not, gadgets clearly serve a purpose because they plant seeds in the minds of opponents who don’t want to be caught off guard. Good offensive coordinators can then turn that paranoia against a defense.
Instead the Ravens are paranoid group – afraid to venture outside their comfort zone.
Here’s a video of gadgets that the Ravens have used in the past…