Opinions amongst fans are always varied when it comes to their team’s offensive coordinator. The love/hate nature is inevitable.
Regardless of prior successes said coordinator has enjoyed, one fact resonates: The NFL is a “What have you done for me lately?” league.
The situation that Jim Caldwell is in the midst of is a unique one—perhaps a mystery that can’t be solved. Is it really his fault? What can he really do with the lack of play-making weapons?
No, the Ravens offensive struggles don’t all fall upon the shoulders of the Ravens’ play-caller. Joe Flacco has to step it up; the dismal offensive line has to play better; and often times, Flacco looks down field to see his “receiving corps” covered like a corpse—these guys sometimes simply can’t get open.
Caldwell can’t change the lackluster play, but he can get creative.
It seems like a pretty simple word, but in today’s NFL—the level of creativity seems to range from the 2008 Miami Dolphins wildcat overkill to the mind-numbing Cam Cameron offense.
There’s no need to be extreme with the “option scheme” or wide-receiver passes to quarterbacks—that’s what college ball is for. A common misconception is that to make an offense creative, a coordinator needs to be fired because he isn’t capable of calling an inspired game plan. That’s far from the truth.
You and I could call creative plays—it’s a matter of using the right weapons with a…dare I say it… change of pace.
At this point, Joe Flacco is the guy and deserves to be the starting quarterback. Look around—who else would you like heaving 30+ throws a game? But just because the $120 million dollar quarterback is the best option doesn’t mean he needs to be on the field every play of the game.
Take this into consideration: if 50-percent of the NFL is game-planning, then why shouldn’t coaches do everything possible to make their opponent use additional time and think about what might happen. Is that such a far-fetched idea?
Take Tyrod Taylor as an example. Before you stop, skim through the rest of this article and blast me in the comments section, hear me out. I am in no way saying that Taylor should be used at quarterback for the Ravens, or even be relied upon to make big plays.
There’s an undeniable truth that has surrounded Taylor since the beginning of his play at Virginia Tech—he has pure football play making ability. With John Harbaugh at the helm however, it seems as though no matter the coordinator, Taylor can’t stop riding the pine for the entire game unless there’s next to nothing to play for.
I’ve yet to notice an explanation on why Taylor isn’t getting playing time as a change-of-pace player. At Virginia Tech, all he did was make plays for the Hokies—akin to the way he has during Ravens preseason games. Simply put he has shined.
Even though his pocket passing skills aren’t the sharpest, his athleticism can easily compare to that of Russell Wilson. In fact, Tyrod ran a 4.51 at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, faster than Wilson’s 4.55. This isn’t inferring that the VT alum is better than Wilson; it merely states that the skills are present when he has the football.
He’s not going to gain 10+ yards on every play, but simply showing him as an option more frequently is going to keep defenses on their toes not only on Sunday, but during the week in the prep rooms.
Why not use Taylor as a decoy? If you put Flacco in the shotgun with Taylor in the slot as a distraction, can you imagine what kind of chaos would erupt on the defensive side of the ball? At that point, with just a simple change of personnel, the offense can do anything. Flacco could run a normal pass play; he could hand the ball off to the back next to him; or even incorporate a “wild-cat” style of play if he sees an obvious mismatch against a DE/OLB.
(More debate on this topic here in our forums)
What is the worst that can happen?
Tandon Doss loses a few snaps?
Even if the production isn’t there—which it likely will be—the defense has to think a little more and thinking slows down defenders. Moreover it’s something that future opponents will need to prepare and account for.
Caldwell doesn’t have to use Taylor 15 times a game, but there is no excuse not to use him at all. There is no excuse for Taylor to have just ONE touch this entire season.
The coaches have a weapon taking up a spot on their 53-man roster.
Maybe using him might ignite a spark.
And why not?
Clearly the NFL’s 30th ranked offense could use one.