Flacco’s Homework: Footwork & Terminology

Joe Flacco
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

As the Ravens and Gary Kubiak install their new offense before our very eyes this summer during training camp, many of those eyes will be focused on just how much progress Joe Flacco has made in the new system.

The key to success for Flacco in 2014 doesn’t necessarily rely on his arm – but instead, his feet.  Proper footwork is key in the West Coast system, and will perhaps be more crucial than ever for Joe.

As Kubiak pointed out earlier this offseason, in his systems he teaches quarterbacks to make reads with their feet first instead of their eyes. Flacco appears to have made huge strides in achieving that goal thus far this offseason. That should help him with a criticism often lobbed at him – that he doesn’t get the football out quickly enough.

The next step for Flacco and company will be translating that footwork into going through progessions against an opposing defense once the pads are strapped on. At 6-6, 245lbs, he stands tall in the pocket; however, for Kubiak’s passing schemes moving around is vital.

Unlike he offenses Joe ran under Cam Cameron and Jim Caldwell, the footwork ties things together a bit more in Kubiak’s style of play.

Another reason for focusing on Joe’s footwork are the bootleg plays, play-action passes along with the keepers often associated heavily with a West Coast offense.

Earlier this month, Joe was asked about his footwork.

“I don’t think your footwork really changes,” Flacco explaned. “It’s just a matter of tying everything into each other, making sure that it’s as perfect as it can be in practice so that you don’t drift too far away from that in games when things can get a little bit tough.”

Like I said, it’s all the same footwork, it’s just making sure that you tie it into your reads and that you can do it spot on in practice, in routes versus the air, so that when things break down a little bit, you’re ready to go, you’re still set and you’re ready to throw.”

Another point of emphasis is understanding the new terminology. Everyone needs to be on the same page and it starts with Flacco. Unlike other positions in this new offense where certain players were brought in to help others (like RB and TE), Joe must rely on his quarterback coach Rick Dennison. It begins in the meeting rooms, looking through photos and listening to his the coaches to help cut down on any communication breakdowns.

All too often last season we saw communication breakdowns all along the offensive side of the football that often led to busted blocking assignments, poorly ran routes and even blunders by Joe. Flacco finishing third on the team in rushing in 13′  (27 rushes, 131 yards, 4.9 ypc average), only confirms the importance of understanding the correct terminology.

As training camp gets under way and the team builds on it’s strengths to avoid another offensive letdown this season, rest assured that Joe won’t have to carry this offense on his back…as long as his footwork is up to par.


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About Brian Bower

Brian Bower
Brian Bower is avid football fan who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Brian has covered the Baltimore Ravens and NFL player positives in the community for the past two years for FootballNewsNow.com. His work has been featured on NFL.com and ESPN blogs. He is also a regular guest...more

8 Raves on “Flacco’s Homework: Footwork & Terminology

  1. James on said:

    That’s a great article, I think that you should post another equally important article up here detailing the importance of “Ball Placement”. Alot of times I see the receivers have to con-torque their body to catch the ball which often lead to drives stalling, not maximizing the possession and of course interceptions too. It’s very important that Joe works on trying to put the ball in a better place for his receivers.

  2. Vic on said:

    The problem I see with Joe is his inability to stick to the plan. When things start breaking down, either he holds on to the ball too long or tries to needle the ball to a receiver amongst 2 to 3 defenders and often fails. He needs to listen to his coordinator and QB coach this year and do exactly what he’s told.

    Added to that he needs to work hard these 4 weeks leading up to the TC just to prove to the offensive players he is ahead of the curve in learning the terminology. I don’t see Joe ever doing more than needed. The two issues with Joe are football intelligence and lack of a killer instinct. I don’t know if they can be coached, but as long as Joe submits to his OC and listens and executes with humility, we’ll do really well.

  3. Paul on said:

    Joe’s YPC avg only proves the inability of the line to hold up and forcing him out of the pocket. I don’t really think that has much at all to do with footwork. Everyone who watched games last season saw a joke of an offense with poor protection schemes and terrible game designs. Joe was bad at times, but Caldwell and the offensive line were exponentially worse.

    To Vic: No football intelligence for Joe? No “killer instinct”?


    Baltimore fans are some of the worst fans in the NFL sometimes.

  4. matt on said:

    to Vic,
    smh. i dont know what football games you watch.. maybe you should go rewatch last years vikings games or the fact that Flacco is like 3rd in recent years for most 4th quarter winning drives. If thats not “killer instinct” idk what is. also the fact Flacco has dealt with as many OC changes in his short career, as tom brady has dealt with in almost twice the time, and still the has most regular season wins of any QB the last 6 years, think he is smart enough to handle a lil more change.

    Joe is a great Qb, is an athletic player. last year he made Ben Rothles,buger look like a chump pocket passer. i look forward to seeing him continue to grow

    i agree and disagree. Bmore has the best and worst fans right now. strictly because we have some of the most passionate fans and due to our great success the last 6 years. ban wagon fans that are just upset that we didnt win a superbowl again last year. and Seattle will face the same thing next year. its a blessing and a curse. we get more prime time games cause more ppl watch, but have to realize that our fellow fans are starting to sound ever more like steelers fans

    • Paul on said:

      Matt – using the “wins” statistic is a bit misleading because there were plenty of games where Flacco didn’t really hold up his end of the bargain and the defense and/or special teams bailed them out.

      However, Flacco has made an awful lot of clutch plays. I don’t know how anyone can say that he is lacking in a desire to win and be the best or anything remotely close to that.

      Kubiak is going to be great for Flacco IMO.

  5. matt on said:

    paul~ true but its a team sport and even leaders need carried at times.. tom brady the years he won the superbowsl was nothing more then a game manager throwing 2 yard passes and watching the rest of his team win the games. yet he has as the success and is considered the GOAT.
    Flacco has tremendous potential and working with a great legendary O.C. itll be a great change from the first half of his career

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