Absolutely Love This OC Hire

Featured, Sports and Bets — January 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm by

Behold Baltimore, our offensive savior has cometh!  Ok, that may be a bit much, but if you are a Ravens fan, you have to be excited about Gary Kubiak being your new offensive coordinator.  Kubiak seemed to come out of nowhere to land the gig, and at the presser this afternoon Coach Harbaugh admitted as much, saying that Coach Kubiak hadn’t been in the mix until about five or six days ago.  A home cooked meal between the two coaches at the Harbaugh residence Sunday night seemed to seal the deal and the Ravens landed the biggest offensive coaching name available this side of Norv Turner.  There’s no reason to believe that this isn’t a significant hire, Gary Kubiak-run offenses have always produced big numbers, and he is an extremely respected coach around the league. In 19 seasons as Denver’s offensive coordinator and Houston’s head coach, Kubiak offenses have finished in the top 10 in yards 13 times, and finished in the top 10 in points 14 times.  By comparison, the Ravens offenses have finished in the top 10 in points 4 times, and the top ten in yards only twice in their team’s history, and the last time they finished that high in yards was in 1997.  Some offensive excitement is desperately needed around here.  The Ravens and Coach Harbaugh sensed this was the perfect time to try and capture some of that offensive excitement, and a big splash was made at the coordinator position.

To make things even better, the Ravens hired Rick Dennison, a Kubiak disciple and former Texan OC, as quarterbacks coach.  This move gives Joe Flacco a personal coach who is well versed in this new system.  Plus, in the event that Kubiak leaves after a year or two for a head coaching job, the Ravens could at least offer the OC gig to Dennison. (Unless of course he went with Kubiak.) Flacco always seems to play better when he has a QB coach on the staff anyway, if Flacco and Dennison can foster a positive working relationship, the sky could be the limit.

This system will be fun to follow.  Kubiak features a lot of misdirection, QB waggles and roll-outs, and a lot of the deeper passing plays are predicated on play action, a strength of Flacco’s.  It is definitely a rhythm offense, something that has been desperately needed here for a long time.   Yes, Gasp!, it is a zone blocking run scheme, but the Ravens have a full off-season to install this system and get the personnel they need if necessary. Look for the offensive line reconstruction to be a big off-season priority.  In the running back department,  both Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce have plenty of cut back ability, something zone blocked running requires, and both running backs, especially Rice, are proven pass catchers.  Kubiak features plenty of running back screens and passing routes, Aryan Foster and his numbers are proof of that.  Fixing the running game will be the number one mission for this football team, and it’s a big reason why Harbaugh hired Kubiak.

Kubiak’s system also has a large role for the tight end, something that fits the Ravens talent at the position in Dennis Pitta, assuming of course that he stays in Baltimore.  Houston tight end Owen Daniels saw several productive seasons in this system, catching as many as 70 balls in 2006, and being a first down machine for Matt Schaub for the better part of 8 years.  And don’t forget Andre Johnson.  While working with Coach Kubiak and his coaches, Johnson became one of the best receivers in the NFL, a definite Hall of Famer.  The Ravens may not have a player as talented as Johnson on the roster, but there is plenty of young potential here, and there is a loaded wide receiver draft coming up in May.

This was a bold move by Coach Harbaugh and the Ravens.  It’s time for some offense in Baltimore.  The Colts never really lit up the score board at old Memorial Stadium in the seventies and  early eighties before departing for the mid-west, and the Ravens, while showing flashes of brilliance (see 2012 playoffs), have never been an offense first franchise.  But with a $100 million dollar, Super Bowl MVP quarterback, a big name running back, and now a big name OC, change is in the air.  And I can’t wait for training camp.

 

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