The blueprint of the Ravens offense may still have Cam Cameron’s name on it, but after his firing last month, a few new wrinkles are evident with new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell calling the shots.
Caldwell’s most evident wrinkle: a mobile pocket.
“Moving the pocket has been a goal of ours,” John Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. “It’s going to be important in this next game, also.”
The offensive line limited the Indianapolis Colts’ pass rush led by Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney to just one sack and two hits on quarterback Joe Flacco. For the Ravens, their formula for success will have to be the same this week as they prepare to face the Denver Broncos’ pass rush led by Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
“Whenever you have great edge pass rushers, you need to move the pocket,” said Harbaugh. “[The offense] has been working hard on [that] – whether it’s stepping up in the pocket and making plays or stepping outside and making plays when the pass rusher loses contain and then keeping the play alive and trying to make some throws while he’s doing that.”
During Cameron’s tenure, Flacco often looked like a seal sitting on a chunk of ice surrounded by great whites. The pocket never shifted and if Flacco was ever outside of it, it’s because he was running for his life.
With Caldwell, moving outside of an ideal pocket is by design.
“I think anytime you move the pocket, it keeps teams with pass rushers a little bit uneasy, at least about attacking one spot,” Flacco said. “I think that’s something we’ve been able to do over the past few weeks, and I think it’s definitely helped us out a little bit.”
When the Ravens and Broncos met on Week 15, it was Caldwell’s first week as offensive coordinator and there wasn’t much time to make major adjustments. Since Week 15, the offense has been able to limit two of the best pass rushing teams in the NFL (New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts), causing minimal damage (one sack and four quarterback hits combined).
Moving the pocket seems like a simple adjustment but there are plenty of moving pieces in order to make it successful. Given that Cameron’s designs presented little challenge to find Flacco for opposing teams, this certainly could be one bit of proof that he didn’t allow much input from other staff members.
Wouldn’t you think that after playing Ben Roethlisberger at least twice per season, a mobile pocket wouldn’t seem like a completely foreign of concept?