MAILBAG: A Pitta Party?

Baltimore Ravens Training Camp
during training camp on July 29, 2011 in Owings Mills, Maryland.

CLEVER CLOCK MANAGEMENT

Easier said than done, but when Joe Flacco fumbled at the end of the first half on the play that began with 0:12 seconds left, why aren’t players taught on a change of possession play to “wisely” allow the defender who recovered the fumble to run; and just hang on to him to drag him down after the clock expires.

If they had let him run 5 more yards before tackling him, they would have effectively run the clock out. Otherwise, it would have been incumbent upon the defender to fall down and call time out. In this case, the Packers were out of time outs and they would have never had a chance for the field goal.

Eric C. Buckner
Owings Mills

Eric,

We’ve seen some heady plays from some pretty smart players in the past and clearly doing what you’ve suggested would fall into that category. But I think the beleaguered offensive line of the Ravens added a very embarrassing play to their resume and they didn’t want to compound the embarrassment by letting the guy score after the fumble recovery. I think running out the clock was the last thing on their mind.

Most players, perhaps even some coaches, probably thought that by tackling Datone Jones in bounds the clock would run out, not knowing that it stopped after a play resulting in a change of possession.

That said, during classroom sessions this week when the team pours over game tape, it is definitely something that should be brought up.

 

WHO’S CALLING THE PLAYS?

I keep reading about Juan Castillo being a running back coach hired by John Harbaugh. Can you tell me what capacity he’s serving in the offensive play calling? It seems as if the reins have been taken out of Jim Caldwell’s hands and we are reverting back to the play calling used last season where we played conservatively and weren’t able to make any runs outside just straight up the middle. I’m no football expert certainly but it seems as if we managed to do that in playoffs after Caldwell was hired.

Hope you answer this for me because it’s not something my husband and resident football guru is aware of!! Love my Ravens…

Thanks,
Cheryl Crandell

Cheryl,

Juan Castillo and John Harbaugh coached together in Philadelphia for a decade and know each other well. Castillo is a very well respected offensive line coach and was brought to the Ravens by Harbaugh and given the title Run Game Coordinator in part so as to not give the appearance that offensive line coach Andy Moeller was demoted.

The title aside, Moeller was demoted for all intents and purposes and Castillo is now at the controls of the offensive line.

Castillo is a big proponent of zone blocking principles but the early results suggest that the approach isn’t a fit for the personnel. Either the Ravens are going to have to get in synch with Castillo’s zone schemes soon or they’ll have to blow up the plan and go back to the style that they used successfully during their 2012 playoff run.

I’m a proponent of “if it ain’t broke why fix it” but apparently John Harbaugh thought otherwise.

As for the play calling, nothing that I’ve heard suggests that Jim Caldwell is not the guy pressing those buttons. However, there’s a certain rhythm and tempo that is frighteningly familiar with this offense and nightmarish visions of Cam Cameron are dancing in my head. The Ravens offensive approach seems archaic like it did during the Cameron years and the common denominator is Harbaugh.

While I don’t think he calls the plays, I do think he influences the approach on game day. Maybe he shouldn’t.

 

DESPERATELY SEEKING DENNIS

What is the time line looking like for Pitta? I feel like getting him back could be a huge game changer for us! Also what is your opinion on the reason behind the absence of our run game? Our O line was a week point last year as well but I still feel like we had a better run-game then than now. I feel like Ray Rice looks like he is just not hitting that beast mode like he has in past years, would you agree? What would be the reason for it if so?

Joe Shivery

Joe,

I agree that the Ravens really miss Dennis Pitta on many levels. As you are probably aware the Ravens assigned Pitta to the Injured Reserve List, Designated to Return. That means he is eligible to return to the active list 8 weeks from the date he is placed on IR. For Pitta, that means he is eligible to return NOW but won’t do so until he is healthy enough.

All indications are that Pitta is coming along well and will return at some point this season. The guess here is that the date the Ravens may have circled on the calendar is November 24 when they host the New York Jets. Anything sooner would have to be considered a bonus.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The Ravens are averaging just 52 yards of offense during the first quarter this season. A punt or turnover has stalled 15 of 17 first quarter drives in 2013.

 

DO YOU HAVE A RAVENS RELATED QUESTION?

Please submit them to TL@russellstreetreport.com

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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

One Rave about “MAILBAG: A Pitta Party?

  1. JerryB on said:

    My sense is that the play calling, particularly the goal line fiasco, has been “dummied down” to help the inept center and both he and the NEW blocking schemes are hurting the entire offense! One recurring theme during the Harbaugh era is his penchant for hiring his buddies! Greg Mattison, Cam Cameron and now, Juan Castillo, whose title, “Run Game Coordinator” is a FIRST in the NFL! By the way, Castillo was so outstanding as an offensive line coach in Philadelphia, that he was switched to Defensive Coordinator and fired after his first year! ENOUGH SAID!! Agree with you, Tony, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The “O” line was good enough last year to win a Super Bowl, but in a short period of time, it’s been turned into…..GARBAGE! And, it’s not coincidental that the entire line and both backs are struggling. Harbaugh’s “footprints” are all over this offense……. .

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