HOUSE CALL: Dr. “O” is in The Building

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock or stranded on a desert island with Kate Upton and you really don’t care, the Ravens offense has struggled mightily and it’s safe to say they’ve been rather ill.

So today I decided to make a house call. Jim Caldwell, if you aren’t listening you should. Dr. O is in the house offering this free trial of my 7 Step Wellness Program for the Ravens offense.

 

1. EMBRACE THE SUGAR HUDDLE

This isn’t rocket science but for some reason the Ravens’ brass seems to want to make it that way. First Brian Billick, the alleged offensive genius, “coordinated” a moribund offense. Then it was Cam Cameron and now Jim Caldwell. The Ravens seem to just keep wallowing in the mire when they have the ball.

So, to light a fire, just unleash Joe Flacco. Let him run the sugar huddle from the first play of the game and get the defense on their collective heels. How much evidence does John Harbaugh need to see before he finally gets it – Flacco needs the up tempo game to develop his rhythm. How nice might it be to play with a lead and eventually make opponents one-dimensional on offense? Dean Pees can then unleash DumerSizzle.

 

2. RICE WITH A SIDE ORDER OF PIERCE

They talked about it in camp, showed it once during the Super Bowl but have failed to feature it yet in 2013 – Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce together in the backfield at the same time.

This doesn’t have to be an every down thing or even a once every set of downs occurrence. But for a handful of plays wouldn’t it make sense to have two of the team’s best playmakers on the field at the same time? Rhetorical question…

 

3. PASS TO SET UP THE RUN

If Joe Flacco hands off to Ray Rice on the Ravens first play from scrimmage, eyes will roll throughout Baltimore like slot machines in Vegas.

Look it’s no secret that teams are choking the Ravens running game on first down yet like Nuke LaLoosh who wanted to establish his authority in Bull Durham, Caldwell seems hell bent on running on first down.

Why not make safe passes on first down to set up second and 4 or so, effectively opening up the entire playbook for the next snap? Loosening opposing defenses up early during a fresh set of downs will create space and help breathe life into an ineffective running game that is now without it’s starting left guard.

 

4. PUT THE OUT BACK IN

One of the staples of the Cam Cameron offense was the out pattern. Short outs, intermediate outs and deep outs were run under Cameron as if his wide receivers had restraining orders preventing them from running inside the numbers. Joe Flacco delivered such passes as good as anyone. Suddenly they’re completely gone. Bring it back without the restraining orders!

 

5. LEACH ON A LEASH

Seemingly overnight, Vonta Leach doesn’t look like the player he once was. Perhaps the inefficiencies of the guys up front contribute but his lack of versatility and speed make him very one-dimensional and he runs a wheel route like he has two flat tires. And perhaps the most disturbing thing – when he’s in the game it screams, “WE’RE RUNNING THE FOOTBALL!” I scream back, “SIT LEACH DOWN!”

Juice anyone?

 

6. NGATA YARD

Bill Belichick has always been a coach who fearlessly tries new things to give his team an advantage or during desperate times (WR’s Troy Brown, Julian Edelman as DB’s). You may recall how he utilized linebacker Mike Vrabel as a tight end in goal line situations. During his career Vrabel caught 10 passes for 14 yards. Every catch went for a touchdown.

A few years back the Ravens enjoyed success at the goal line when they used Haloti Ngata in short yardage situations. He was overpowering at the point of attack. It’s pretty impressive how much more explosive Ngata can be when he knows the snap count.

 

7. TAYLOR MADE

Relax, I’m not suggesting that Tyrod Taylor replace Joe Flacco. I am suggesting that the offensive coaching staff figure out a way to use his open-field elusiveness to loosen up defenses and keep them on their heels. Give him 4-6 plays per game to run an option, waggle, boot, double pass or flanker screen. Make the opponents prepare more, think more, be unsure…it will slow them down and good things can and will happen.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to take this call. Kate is holding on line 2.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

22 Raves on “HOUSE CALL: Dr. “O” is in The Building

  1. Sdot on said:

    I love these ideas! I’ve always appreciated coach Harbaugh but it just seems his strength has never been in outsmarting or outcoacjing the opponents sideline. We have to be the least creative team in the game and would love to see him step outside the box and try something.

  2. Kathy on said:

    Tony – I agree with all of your points. I do not claim to be a football expert, but why don’t our coaches see the obvious? Hopefully, changes will be made after the bye. We really need this win

  3. Mary Ellen Shapiro on said:

    I feel the Ravens need to play the first half like it’s the second half! Step up the pace and keep the other defense guessing! And yes , I agree! Put Rice and Pierce both in there at the same time!!! We need some major changes in our game plan!

  4. Bruce_Almty on said:

    Tony, Any evidence Coach Harbaugh and staff ever listen to writers such as yourself on topics such as the above?
    Ravens offense and defense for that matter are boring and unimaginative. In a league that favors the pass, Ravens actually do a rather poor job of exploiting their #1 resource–Joe Flacco.
    Thanks for your work.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Unfortunately no…they would take it as an insult.

      Sometimes I think coaches or any employees of any company really, are too close to something and the old cliche, “can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to mind. We’re guilty of that too which is why we conducted our survey and we’ll modify our product to implement some of the suggestions made.

      Granted, I’ll never have the football IQ of John Harbaugh but sometimes I think they make it more difficult than it has to be. I wish they would take these simple suggestions.

      • spy & jim from dundalk on said:

        You said it best , you will never have the football IQ of John Harbaugh , if you did you would be one of the 32 head coaches in the NFL , until then just work on your IQ………………….

        • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

          “Work on your IQ?” That’s funny.

          May I suggest the same for all 4 of those guys within the circle of your multiple personality disorder?

  5. elland on said:

    Pretty much yes to 1-4, Taylor NO, no and no. He is the backup for a reason and when we only have one backup, there is no need to risc any injury there.

  6. Ravcolt on said:

    Agree on Tyrod, but also inside the ten yard line when we need 6 points. Have three plays already called and run them in succession, more than likely forcing the D to call one time out. How about SizzleDumer?

  7. JerryB on said:

    All good ideas, Tony! My sense is that Harbaugh has had his imprint all over this offense and should turn it over to Caldwell and Flacco and let them run it as they did in the postseason last year! Ultra conservative playing not to lose hasn’t worked, so just turn ‘em…..loose!

  8. Mike on said:

    This is not Caldwell’s offense! This is Harbaugh’s offensive strategy of running on first down and playing conservative in the first half. It is also Castillo’s run calling and/or line formation for the run game. If you really think Caldwell is running the offense please prove it, otherwise I do not believe what I have seen in the playoff’s last year has anything to do with what I have seen for the last 7 games (really 11 if you include the 4 preseason where we should be trying new formations). It sounds like Harbaugh is about to change it up for the better.

    • James on said:

      You want proof?
      The Ravens started running the ball more when Caldwell took over.

      I remember during the post season my whole family yelling at the tv(I believe against Denver) because they ran it on every first down and get three yards every time. The defense knew it was coming but they were able to get positive yards anyway.

  9. Phil frm Frostburg on said:

    I also noticed the demise of the “Derrick Mason” out pattern. Don’t you need the threat of these to set up double moves? Also, how about running the ball from 3 and 4 WR sets when the DL is spread out? Why are we unable to execute a single bubble screen with a QB who has a cannon arm when some teams run it elegantly five times a game? The whole offense is a head scratcher this year

  10. Flacco's Favorite on said:

    Excellent points TL. It appears as if there are times when the Ravens outsmart themselves. Making changes to the oline coach/scheme and taking the ball out of Joe’s hands after the Super Bowl run were questionable decisions.

    One other point, and one I had been making for years.. Why doesn’t Joe ever point at a linebacker when at the line of scrimmage to identify a blitzer (mike lb, etc.)Seems like a small thing but I saw it for the first time in last weeks game. Maybe it’s a sign Joe will get more control, sorta like, you know, the Super Bowl run… coach Harbaugh? Is this thing on???

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