Today the Ravens hosted a chalk talk session with the media to expand the knowledge of NFL concepts. The focus this morning was offense and the presenters were offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Juan Castillo.
Also involved in the presentation were assistant coaches Tom Hammock, Brian Pariani and Rick Dennison.
The session was really intended to boost the football IQ of the media – a tutorial of sorts to help improve the coverage and level of intelligence when reporting or opining on the Ravens and the NFL.
A few notes from the session that don’t include trade secrets…
Quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison has offensive line coaching experience and was once an assistant to one of the game’s innovators in the running game, Alex Gibbs…Kubiak emphasized that the game is played through matchups and walked the audience through the numeric system often used around the league to quickly define personnel groupings.
Kubiak stressed the importance of running the same plays out of various sub packages so that the Ravens don’t dictate play calling through their personnel groupings…Kubiak broke down several plays, most of which were stretch runs (Texans v. Bengals Wild Card Game footage) featuring zone blocking or play action off such runs…It’s pretty clear that the Ravens want to run the football and just as clear that they plan to get physical.
The Ravens featured the pistol formation often in 2013 and while he isn’t opposed to more of the same, expect Kubiak to feature Joe Flacco under center more in 2014. The Ravens OC believes that running plays get to the line of scrimmage faster when the quarterback is under center.
The Ravens head coach fielded a few questions early on from the media and in no particular order mentioned:
* The Ravens believe that safety Darian Stewart can be a starter and said that his skill set hasn’t been Stewart’s biggest problem in his search for consistency – durability is.
* The Ravens will add another running back to improve competition at the position. Ray Rice’s domestic situation is a concern but perhaps a bigger concern may be Bernard Pierce who wasn’t even mentioned during the session. It’s possible that the team is trying to send the former Temple Owl a message. If motivated and healthy Kubiak’s offense is a solid fit for Pierce’s running style – a style often compared to that of Arian Foster.
* The Ravens are looking for quality depth everywhere and will add via free agency, the draft and undrafted free agents.
* Harbaugh acknowledged the need for another corner and seems confident in Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson. They will have to step up because according to Harbs, “Corey Graham will be missed.”
* The positions of backup quarterback, right tackle and tight end were brought up and Harbaugh wasn’t bashful about mentioning the name of Owen Daniels again. He also alluded to the possibility of bringing along other former players of Kubiak’s. Both Harbaugh and Kubiak mentioned Ed Dickson.
* For the moment and barring any additions via free agency or the draft, competing for the opening on the offensive line will be Ricky Wagner, Jah Reid and Ryan Jensen. An impressive Jensen could bump Kelechi Osemele out to right tackle.