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Joe Flacco Sounds Off About Wildcat

Posted Nov 26, 2013

The quarterback stressed that he does not like the wildcat, saying it looks like a 'high school offense.'

Joe Flacco made one point abundantly clear during his press conference Tuesday: He does not like the wildcat offense.

The Ravens showed off more wildcat looks Sunday against the Jets, with backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor taking snaps behind center and Flacco lined up at wide receiver, and Flacco stressed he is not a fan of the approach.

“I don’t like that stuff,” Flacco said. “It makes you look like a high school offense. That’s just my opinion.”

The approach generated mixed results, as Taylor finished the game with four rushing attempts for seven yards. Taylor saw 12 of the 66 snaps on offense, and lined up as the quarterback for four of them. He was also used as a wide receiver, and had one catch for a 6-yard gain.

Flacco has never been shy about voicing his opinions to the coaching staff, and he said “they know how I feel about it.”

“I don’t look at it as a slap in the face to me. It is what it is,” Flacco said. “I just want as many chances as I can to get behind the line of scrimmage. I just don’t like that stuff in general. Me and Tyrod talk about it. It’s just interesting to me. I’m all for us doing things to get better, but we’re not going to be good if we just can’t get good at the basics of what we do 90 percent of the time. We have to get good at those things or we’re not going to be good no matter what. I just want to make sure that we’re focusing on getting good at those things.”

The Ravens used the wildcat to help spark an offense that came into the game ranked 30th in the NFL in yards per game. The running game ranks 27th in the league, and the Jets have the top-ranked run defense in the league. Using Taylor to run the read option was a way to catch the Jets offguard and try a different approach to moving the ball on the ground.

But Flacco said he didn’t like the use of it regardless of the situation.

“I don’t care how we use it in the game – successful, not successful, after a big play, not after a big play – I don’t care where it’s used. I’m just not a huge fan of it,” Flacco said. “I’m the quarterback. I want to be behind the line of scrimmage. I want to be taking the snaps. That’s really the only thing. I don’t necessarily take it personally in terms of our offense trying to get better. I just think it makes us look not like an NFL team.”

In the plays where Taylor lined up at quarterback, Flacco would go to the far edge as the receiver. He mostly just stood at the line up scrimmage and had no involvement in the play.

“I’m not doing a single thing,” Flacco said. “I’m not blocking. I’m not doing anything.”

Flacco and Taylor have been the only two quarterbacks on the roster for the last three seasons, and Flacco said that he has expressed his feelings to Taylor.

“We all have open conversations about it,” Flacco said. “He understands how I feel. And listen, Tyrod is a quarterback too. He probably feels a certain way about it too. But having said that, we’re all going to do our best to make those plays work and execute them well and we’ll see what happens.”

While Flacco was outspoken against using the wildcat, some of the other players on offense said they like the different look it provides.

“Obviously Joe would rather be lining up getting snaps, but it’s a changeup,” running back Ray Rice said. “We’re just trying to do the best we can right now to improvise a little bit, to get a little changeup and Joe can be voicing his opinions. But it’s a wave that’s going on in the NFL. We’re not saying we’re trying to follow the wave or anything. It’s not our everyday offense. It just gives teams a little something to prepare for and know that we have it in our arsenal.”

“As long as it doesn’t take away from what we do well and it’s a change of pace, I like it,” tight end Ed Dickson added. “When you got a guy like Tyrod like you got, you have to get him the ball. You have two great quarterbacks, and the things that Tyrod does well and the things that Joe does well, you can use them both.”

The Ravens have used Taylor sparingly during his time in Baltimore, and looked for ways to get him more involved in the offense. Sunday’s game was the biggest role he’s played in a meaningful  regular-season contest, and Head Coach John Harbaugh was non-committal when asked about using more of it in the future.

“I can’t tell you,” Harbaugh said. “I can’t comment on that, as you all know. We’ll see.”

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