Babes On Kubiak: The Cook Has Arrived, It’s Time To Get Him Some Groceries

Featured, Sports and Bets — January 28, 2014 at 10:44 am by

 

by Babes

John Harbaugh and the Ravens made a great decision hiring Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator.  Coach Kubiak has an impeccable resume as an offensive guru, and that is just what the doctor ordered here in Baltimore.  We have a lot of talented pieces in place already on the offensive side of the ball in quarterback Joe Flacco, speed demon Torrey Smith, and reliable tight end Dennis Pitta (barring his exit via free agency).  But as the old add adage goes, you have to let the cook buy his own groceries.

  Coach Kubiak’s system is one based purely off the zone stretch running play, as almost everything builds off that.  A ton of play action passes come off this play, which involves a ton of deep crossers and backs and tight ends who can catch.  All five eligible receivers could see the ball on any particular play.  Another staple of this offense is the boots and waggles off the stretch play, which also incorporates the tight ends to a great degree.  This is a tried and proven NFL offensive system, but it’s obvious that the Ravens need to acquire a couple of pieces to adequately make this offense work. 

  First and foremost they need to acquire an established possession receiver, someone reliable enough to play the role Andre Johnson has excelled in over the past few years.  They need someone that has the ability to get deep, but more importantly can move the chains and be reliable over the middle.  A couple options via free agency that fit this mold would be Eric Decker, Riley Cooper, or Anquan Boldin, but all would be costly toward the Ravens already stretched salary cap.  Another cheaper option would be Andre Roberts of the Arizona Cardinals, as he fits the profile perfectly.  He is tough with reliable hands, and he possesses enough speed to make defenses respect him, but he really makes his living on intermediate routes over the middle. 

 

If the Ravens decide to draft their possession receiver, a player that fits the mold perfectly is Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, but he would most certainly have to be the Ravens pick at 17, as there is no way he will fall to the middle of the second round. 

  At the running back position I feel the Ravens will be adequately equipped to make this transition with what is already in house.  Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce should be fine in this stretch running offense, which often highlights the tailback position.  Going back to his Denver days, coach Kubiak has made stars of all his tailbacks.  I actually believe Bernard Pierce will be a better fit moving forward as the starter, or at least on early downs.  Pierce is a slashing one cut runner that will flourish in this system.  Ray Rice might be more effective next year as a third down and change of pace back. 

  Multiple tight ends that can block and catch are imperative in this offense.  Dennis Pitta would be great as one of the tight ends, but the Ravens will have to acquire another who is a better blocker in the run game.  This player will have to possess the skill set to latch onto the defense’s edge setter, as well as be able to slip out and catch passes in the flat and on over routes off of play action.  This is a role that Owen Daniels excelled in at Houston.  The player I would target if I were Ozzie Newsome would be Scott Chandler.  He is massive at 6’7″ and 270 pounds, and would have no problems blocking in the run game.  He also has pretty good pass catching skills, and is a very attractive red zone target with his size.  Another way to go, be it unpopular, is to let Pitta walk in free agency to save money and bring in Garrett Graham.  Graham is familiar with Kubiak’s system and played very well when Daniels went out last year.  Also he would come at a much cheaper price than Pitta.  This option would also allow the Ravens the ability to look closely at one of the play making tight ends in the first round like Eric Ebron from North Carolina, or would allow them to trade down a few spots and look at Jace Amaro of Texas Tech or Austin Sefran-Jenkins of Washington.  We all know how frugal the Ravens can be, so I don’t see them breaking the bank for Pitta.

  Of course, the offensive line is priority number one this offseason.  The zone blocking scheme usually favors smaller, quicker lineman, but that is definitely not what the Ravens have in house now.  I would think KO would best be suited back outside at right tackle in this new scheme to pair with Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda.  If the Ravens can somehow find a way to resign Eugene Monroe at left tackle, that would leave left guard and center to upgrade.  They need to find someone tailored to play in the zone stretch scheme.  Whether they draft a lineman or two, or go after mid- level free agents, a change needs to be made.  I don’t feel good about Gino Gradkowski or AQ Shipley as starters on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. 

  You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, and I’m sure the Ravens brass is smart enough to know that.  They will make acquisitions conducive to making this offense work.  But Coach Harbaugh did say this is not going to be the Houston Texans offense, it’s going to be the Baltimore Ravens offense.  We’ll see just exactly what that means next fall, but in the meantime a preview will be to watch their roster moves.  Either way, it’s time for this offense to move into the upper echelon of the NFL, and Gary Kubiak is just the guy who can take them there.

 

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