In just three days the Ravens will finally get to show how their upgrades on the offensive side of the football will translate to the field when they host the Bengals on Sunday afternoon.
There have been plenty of occasions throughout minicamp, training camp and the preseason where we have seen hints and clues as to what to expect from new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, but certainly nothing compares to a regular season atmosphere.
During his tenure in Houston, Kubiak’s Texans earned their Top 6 all-time offensive outputs in scoring, total offense and passing yards from 2007-12. During this time, the Texans also boasted the franchise’s Top 3 rushing outputs, including the NFL’s No. 2 ground attack in 2011 when they posted a franchise-record 153.0 yards per game.
While the Ravens certainly aren’t the Texans (thank goodness), Kubiak is ready to show the proof is in the pudding and that their hard work is ready to pay off.
“Well, it’s time to go find out. I wouldn’t say we’ve held anything back. They’ve handled things really well, so we continue to progress forward as far as the load in what we give them,” Kubiak stated following practice on Thursday.
“Obviously, you’re trying to put them all in position to do what they do best, but we’re starting against a great group – a team that was a Top 5 defensive team last year. We have a big, big challenge this weekend, but that’s part of this league. We’ve been working hard. I’m very excited about the way they’ve been working, and I know they’re excited to get playing.”
One such player that has Kubiak excited because of his versatility out of the backfield is second-year full back Kyle Juszczyk. “Juice” has often drawn comparisons to an ex-player of Kubiak’s in Houston, James Casey.
“I knew ‘Juice’ because I studied him coming out [of college], so I knew him as a player a little bit. But John [Harbaugh] and the guys talked to me about how excited they were about his future [and] some of the things he had done.
“And then we started working in OTAs, and the first obvious thing you could see is there’s a lot of athletic ability to go with sitting there blocking guys, too. He has great hands. [He’s] a very smart player, which allows you as a coach to do a lot of things with him.
“I’ve been very pleased with Juice’s progress, and it’s important for our team that he plays well and plays like a four-, five-year guy and not a first-year starter. He’s been working at it, and I know we have a lot of confidence in him.”
Although Kubiak’s new offense has impressed in the preseason and training camp, we should be prepared for some bumps in the road in the early-goings. While we would all prefer a smooth road to the postseason, it is rarely like that for this team, our never-easy, never-pretty, nail-biting into the fourth quarter Baltimore Ravens.