Joe Flacco has made no secret about his enthusiasm for the Ravens running the no-huddle offensive extensively this preseason.
The fifth-year quarterback was masterful in the Ravens’ third preseason game as he completed 27 of 36 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. While it remains to be seen just how much Baltimore uses the high-tempo attack without the benefit of a huddle, it’s clear the Ravens are poised to run it more often than they have at any point under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in the John Harbaugh era.
The addition of quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell — who oversaw Peyton Manning running a similar attack for years in Indianapolis — has not only influenced the implementation of the no-huddle offense but has provided a sounding board for Flacco to have a louder voice in the offense.
“I would say I kind of feel like things that I’m saying are kind of being taken a little bit better,” Flacco said. “I think Jim is a great communicator, so if I say something, he does a great job of getting it across to the rest of the offensive coaches and the rest of the team. Me and John have great talks, and I think that helps, too. You talk to the head coach and you both are on the same page, it definitely facilitates your voice getting across.”
It’s interesting that Flacco mentioned his new position coach and Harbaugh as individuals with which he communicates positively but made no mention of Cameron. While it may have been an innocent oversight, it’s no secret that the pair haven’t been on the same page at different points during their four-plus years together.
Regardless of who’s getting the credit for Flacco’s improvement during training camp and the preseason, Harbaugh still takes enjoyment from seeing performances from Flacco like the one he witnessed Thursday.
“You never take it for granted,” Harbaugh said. “I think Joe looked good, and I think the whole offense looked really good. Credit goes to Cam. [The coaches have] done a great job throughout training camp, but we have a long way to go. It’s the third preseason game. None of them count yet. So, we have a lot of work to do, and we need to get back to work on Saturday.”
Harbaugh’s point is a valid one. As much as we’ve seen the no-huddle attack at work, it remains unknown how often the Ravens will use it during the regular season.
Scoring points against Jacksonville in a game that doesn’t count is fun, but implementing that offensive style in hostile road environments on a consistent basis is a different challenge to overcome. However, Flacco sees the positives outweighing the potential risks as he grows more comfortable in his command of the offense in his fifth season.
“Besides being successful, completing passes, scoring touchdowns and doing it quickly, the no-huddle puts a lot of pressure on the defense in the sense that it can wear them out,” Flacco said. “When you’re rushing upfield after the passer every single snap, come the third and fourth quarter, it’s going to be tough to continue to rush the passer, and it’s going to be tough to stop the run. So, I think we have a lot of things working in our favor.”