The Ravens placed a great deal of emphasis on their hurry up/no huddle offense during training camp and the preseason, particularly when Joe Flacco was behind center. It will be interesting to see if they feature it as much when it counts.
We’ve seen Cam Cameron try many things in the past during training camp – implementing gadget plays, attacking the middle of the field and even allowing Flacco to use audibles. But then by the time the games roll around, the Ravens offense seems to drift back into its limited comfort zone and heavily trimmed route tree.
One Ravens receiver even cautioned that we shouldn’t get used to or excited by the emphasis on the no huddle because in large part it is a conditioning tool for both the offense and the defense.
That said, clearly it’s an approach that Flacco is comfortable with. He seems to quickly develop a rhythm when operating in hurry up mode. But then again, Flacco doesn’t have to sell a 9 route, run back to the line of scrimmage and reset and then be called upon to deliver a block along the edge to set up an off tackle run. He isn’t carrying around 350 pounds on a field with temperatures above 90 degrees.
Sure the no huddle disrupts an opponent’s sub packages but as we’ve seen it does make executing the running game a bit more challenging.
And speaking of challenges, the Ravens will be severely tested by what looks like a brutal schedule. They will open the season by playing four games within the span of 17 days. They will go through a stretch of 47 days during which they play only 1 home game. Five of their final 7 games will be against 2011 playoff teams and one of the games NOT featuring a playoff team (Chargers) is against an opponent who handed the Ravens their only thrashing of the ’11 season.
With such obstacles to overcome, you have to wonder why this fast break approach wasn’t perfected against the weaker opponents that populated last season’s schedule.
Maybe the Ravens will implement what they’ve practiced this time around. Maybe it will work.
If you aren’t faster, quicker or stronger than your opponents, you have to be better at something in order to beat them.
Maybe that something is conditioning.
Hurry up and get here 2012 season.
We can’t wait to find out!