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Ravens Looking To Build More Secretive Communication

Posted Jan 12, 2014

The Ravens had some communication miscues that led to unnecessary timeouts last year.


Remember hearing Joe Flacco call out “Alaska!” on the TV broadcast?

So do the Ravens’ opponents.

Head Coach John Harbaugh wants to hide that kind of information next season, and is looking to build a more coded, secretive form of communication into the offense.

“Ways that we can hide it from our opponents is a big deal,” Harbaugh said. “Communication is a huge thing. Stadiums are loud, and we’ve got to find a way to talk to each other without having timeouts get called in the second quarter.”

Last season, the Ravens had a communication system in place in which Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell, who was in a booth high above the field, would radio the play down to Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler, who was on the sideline. Hostler would then be the one talking into Flacco’s helmet.

Harbaugh said the communication was “generally” good, but it is susceptible to technical issues.

“There are sometimes when the phone goes out and you’ve got to signal something in,” Harbaugh said. “We had a few timeouts early in games when the phones went out and the clock was running down.”

The Ravens would also like to modify their communication from a scheme approach to make sure opposing defenses aren’t figuring out what’s coming.

Harbaugh said the Ravens study what they hear other teams say. Other teams study what the Ravens say too. So you can gain an advantage by saying as little as possible. In the NFL, teams look for every little advantage they can get.

“We’ve got to find a way to hide what we’re doing from our opponents,” Harbaugh said. “That’s something we’re working on, [like] shortening our calls and building a coach system where we can get things called quickly but we can change it up from one play. It’s the same play, [but] maybe it’s a different direction.”

The Ravens have used different communication at times in the past. Occasionally, they’ve had assistant coaches were different colored hats. They’ve held up signs too.

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