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Late For Work 6/25: Joe Flacco Opens Up About Relationship With Gary Kubiak

Posted Jun 25, 2014

Flacco talks getting arm in shape. Ravens trending younger. 5 vets that will be challenged to make team.


Flacco Opens Up About Relationship With Kubiak

Landing Gary Kubiak as the Ravens offensive coordinator was considered by many to be a major coup for Baltimore.

Few (including Kubiak) thought he would be willing to take a coordinator job after being a head coach for eight years in Houston. He’s earned a reputation around the league for his highly productive offensive systems, and he knows exactly what he wants and how to get it. Meanwhile, Joe Flacco rose to the top of the NFL world by winning Super Bowl XLVII and being named as the game’s MVP.

Despite their huge success, both men had a down year in 2013. Flacco missed the playoffs for the first time in his six-year career, and the Texans finished uncharacteristically with the league’s worst 2-14 record. They were brought together in Baltimore, hoping to reclaim the success they’ve grown accustomed to.

How is their newly formed marriage going?

Flacco talked about his new relationship with Kubiak last night with WNST’s Nestor Aparicio at an event to help raise money for “There Goes My Hero,” a program that supports leukemia patients and their families. Aparicio’s wife, Jenn, was diagnosed with leukemia in March.

“It’s been pretty cool not only to spend some time with [Gary], but the whole staff,” Flacco said. “It’s a big adjustment for all of us. We’ve had the same group of offensive coaches since I’ve been here and now we have a completely new group.”

Flacco said when players first reported for offseason activities in April, he could see the new coaching staff had been grinding for months in preparation for teaching and installing the offense. In order to get plays on film and get everyone up to speed, the first couple of weeks were very business-like.

It didn’t leave much time to get to know each other on a personal level, but Flacco felt the vibe change a little bit after he and the other quarterbacks went to dinner with Kubiak and Quarterbacks Coach Rick Dennison.

“You couldn’t really get a sense for anybody’s personality very quickly,” Flacco said. “You were just business, business, business. As time went on, you could see everyone start to loosen up.  

“We went out to dinner one of the nights during OTAs and you know, just hung out, had a couple beers, talked to each other and really got a feel for each other. I think that was probably a pretty good start to getting a feel for everybody’s personality and really starting to have a good, comfortable room.”

Flacco quickly gained respect for the entire offensive staff because “you can tell” they love football by the way they coach and the amount of time they put in.

“It was definitely pretty cool to get to know these guys,” Flacco said.

Flacco: It’s Not Tough To Learn An Offense

As for the football side of things, Flacco says learning the new offense has been smooth.

In fact, he downplayed how hard it is, joking that football players aren’t very bright, so if they can do it, anybody can. Flacco said he has played in several different systems throughout high school, college and the pros, which has allowed him to be adaptable.

“Football is football. I mean, come on guys, we’re talking about a bunch of football players,” he said. “It’s not tough to learn an offense. At the end of the day, you have a formation, you have protection, you have a direction to run the ball and you have a route to run as a receiver. It’s not that tough. If you can’t learn an NFL offense, then obviously you shouldn’t be there. … I’m saying, we’re not the brightest people, so therefore how hard can an NFL offense be?”

The terminology is “completely different” from last season, but Flacco said that both he and the rest of the players have picked it up quickly.

And Kubiak is a big reason for that.

Flacco says Kubiak’s system is simple and not complicated, which is a change from the way the team approached the offense during their 8-8 campaign. 

“Last year, in particular, we were doing a lot of thinking out there and trying to handle everything that we could,” Flacco said. “So I think one of the biggest things in this offense is just the fact that they want us to go out there and play fast. And because of that, you can’t have things be too complicated, especially up front. You have to have things simple so that guys can go out there and not really worry about eight different things on one play. They’re worried about one thing on the play, maybe two things, and we’re snapping the ball and going and we’re playing fast and we’re doing what we’re good at.”

Flacco Talks About Getting His Arm In Shape

Once again, Flacco was asked about not holding off-site throwing sessions with his receivers prior to coming together for two months at the Under Armour Performance Center.

Flacco said that prior to organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp, he spent time getting his arm in shape by throwing to his brother, Mike, who is a rookie free agent with the San Diego Chargers. Then he used April, May and June to work with his receivers.

He said that was ample time to develop chemistry.

“Oh yeah [I know these guys well],” Flacco said. “I mean come on now, two months of throwing? I’m getting old – this is my seventh year. I can’t be throwing two million balls in the offseason. I got to save that sucker for the season.”

Even though the Ravens are on a four-week break before training camp in mid-July, Flacco will still make sure he gets out to throw the ball on his own time so that he is in prime condition when practice reconvenes.

“That’s really just so I’m getting my arm in shape so that when I get back here, I’m not getting sore and I can come out here and throw it all day,” he said. “We had two solid months of throwing. And now this next month, that’s just about keeping my arm in shape in terms of what I’ve built up over the last couple of months so that when training camp hits, same thing, I’m not in the training room icing my arm every single day because we’re going to be throwing a lot of passes, a lot balls every day and grinding out there, and my arm needs to be in shape to be able to do that.”

Quick Hits

  • The Ravens added some experience, but still will likely trend younger. “The promotion of young players into bigger roles and a reliance on rookies to grow up fast is all part of the Ravens’ organization philosophy and a desire to remake the roster every offseason to annually compete for the Lombardi Trophy and avoid a massive tear down every five or six offseasons,” wrote Jeff Zrebiec. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • “When the Ravens signed veteran cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Dominique Franks last week after successful minicamp tryouts for both, it was viewed as even more unlikely that they'd make a serious run at Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers who had surprisingly been released by the Kansas City Chiefs,” wrote Zrebiec. “Looking to upgrade their cornerback depth, the Ravens had some conversations about adding Flowers, but ultimately other teams coveted the 28-year-old more. One of those teams, the San Diego Chargers, have agreed today to a one-year deal with Flowers, according to multiple reports.” [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Adam Schein names Flacco the second-most “fascinating” player in 2014. [NFL.com]
  • Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary says Terrell Suggs is the No. 2 linebacker in the league. [NFL.com]
  • Clifton Brown names five veterans who face a challenge to make the 53-man roster: Terrence Cody, Jah Reid, A.Q. Shipley, Tyrod Taylor and Deonte Thompson. [CSNBaltimore.com]
  • @jtuck9: Check out my Official Facebook Page! (the one w/ the blue check!) [Twitter]
  • @Ravens: Happy birthday [Tuesday] to Kelechi Osemele (@KOsevendeuce)! [Twitter]
  • @MikeCamp_3: I Hope Lebron Heads To the Cavs Or Clips! [Twitter]
  • @ChrisCanty99: Join me and my NFL friends on June 30 - July 1 at George Washington High School for the Camp of Champions. [Twitter]
  • @89SteveSmith: Another successful camp done! Thx 2 all who helped make it happen @procamps @proctergamble @cherrypointmccs#stevesmith [Twitter]

  • @BPierce_30: After my surgery I got up to 248 but with the help of THRIVE and daily routine workouts I lost 25. [Instagram]

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