Despite being a lanky 6-foot-6 quarterback, Flacco is surprisingly athletic.
Kubiak saw Flacco from the other sideline as the former head coach of the Houston Texans. He said he knew he was a tall, big-armed quarterback. But there’s more to Flacco than just that.
“I had no idea how good an athlete he is. He’s a very good athlete,” Kubiak said.
That’s a good thing, because Kubiak’s offense works best with a quarterback that can move.
Play-action passes, particularly thrown on bootlegs, are a staple of Kubiak’s offense. Kubiak got his start as Steve Young’s quarterbacks coach in San Francisco, then went to Denver to coach John Elway. They both have busts in Canton, but neither were statues by any means.
Kubiak worked with Matt Schaub the past seven years in Houston. Schaub is much slower than Flacco, yet still mobile enough to throw for more than 4,000 yards three times and run one of the most successful offenses in the league.
The numbers show that Flacco has done well using the play-action pass during his career. Last season, he had a 90.7 quarterback rating when using the play action, compared to a 70.3 rating with no play action.
Flacco showed improved accuracy and playmaking potential when scrambling outside of the pocket last season, but many of those plays were unscripted when he was trying to escape pressure and the struggles of his offensive line. This season, they’ll be planned.
Sometimes he’ll stop, plant his feet and launch a bomb. Other times he’ll be required to find receivers streaking across the field while on the move.
“The things we like to do moving around, the zone-pass schemes that we like to run, I think fit to a lot of his strengths,” Kubiak said. “We just need to continue to get better with them.”
Flacco is actually one of the better overall athletes on the team.
He’s a former baseball player who mashed home runs at cornerback
But what makes Flacco an NFL quarterback is the cannon attached to his right shoulder. Kubiak has gained more of an appreciation for Flacco’s arm, which will come into play at the end of some of those roll-outs and bootlegs.
“I knew [his arm] was good, but I had no idea just how good it was,” Kubiak said. “The big ball is always in play with Joe. … This league is about making big plays. It’s hard [when you go] three or four yards a pop to do it. You have to make some big plays, and Joe gives you the ability to do that.”