With offensive coordinator bringing designed rollouts to the Ravens, quarterback Joe Flacco has to improve his footwork once again to take the next leap.
We've always known that Flacco has a cannon for an arm and while he has utilized that over the past few years by leading the league in bomb attempts (anything over 20 yards), Kubiak will want to reign Flacco in a little bit to be more accurate in his west coast style of offense. By Flacco working on his footwork, he will better be able to set his feet quicker, which means more accurate passes faster and less of Flacco running for his life.
Head coach John Harbaugh was behind Flacco and explained how important it is in an offense:
Something [Flacco] really has to work on is the footwork.
Tying the footwork to the reads in a different system is a new thing for a quarterback. So I know he understands the read progressions. He has to tie the footwork to the reads and just do it over and over again and become really good at it.
The West Coast offense is very – more than any offense I’m that familiar with – is very tight end-oriented, ties the footwork reads into the reads more than any other one. It’s very black and white for the quarterback, and that’s what Joe is learning right now
Kubiak also loves designed rollouts or bootlegs, which Flacco has taken on more of during former offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell's command. Working off play action, a bootleg can freeze a defensive line and secondary as they take time to decide if the running back or quarterback has the ball, which helps create openings for receivers to gain additional separation. Quick separation and a quarterback like Flacco can add up to some gaudy numbers for the seventh year quarterback and his offense.
In addition to creating additional separation, freezing the defensive line also allows Flacco to have an extra second to go through his progressions and set his feet. That extra time is something Flacco assuredly wanted last season as he placed second worst in the league with 48 sacks and, while the offensive line is rebuilt and looking great, any extra time is helpful to a quarterback and his offense.
Flacco to his credit, thinks that adjusting his footwork won't be a problem:
It’s all the same footwork. It’s just making sure that you tie it into your reads and that you can do it spot on in practice, in routes versus the air, so that when things break down a little bit, you’re ready to go, you’re still set and you’re ready to throw.