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Ravens On Lookout For Patriots' Quick Snaps

Posted Jan 19, 2013

Tom Brady needs just one word to get the play call out.

Just one word to dictate formation, routes, blocking scheme, snap count and other important instructions to the offense.

The Patriots have hit fast forward on the NFL’s already traditional hurry-up offense, which will be a big test for a Ravens defense that has faced a whopping 87 play each of the past two weeks.

“It’s a challenge, for sure. It gets you winded and everything, but I think we’re ready for it,” outside linebacker Paul Kruger said.

“You’ve got to know it’s coming. You’ve got to understand that’s what they’re going to do.”

The Patriots started with a heavy no-huddle attack against the Houston Texans in the divisional round. But they didn’t have much success with it, so they quickly scrapped it in favor of a quick-snap approach.

Brady will sometimes rush to the line of scrimmage and try to get a play off before the defense is ready. It led to an easy 40-yard completion to tight end Aaron Hernandez against the Texans, the kind of play that can make or break a postseason game.

The Patriots got the Ravens with a similar play in their Week 3 meeting. They hit a 59-yard gain to wide receiver Wes Welker when Baltimore’s defense was scrambling to get set. It led to a blown coverage in the Ravens secondary.

“They got us one time that last game,” linebacker Dannell Ellerbe recalled. “You can’t take any plays off. It shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll pay attention to it.”

The hurry-up means Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees must get his play calls in quickly. The Ravens also need to do a good job of communication to get on the same page.

“He can only catch you off-guard when you’re not prepared,” defensive end Pernell McPhee said. “We’re prepared.”

Baltimore’s defense was comforted by the fact that it has practiced against its own hurry-up offense for the entire season and that it’s coming off playing a similar hurry-up style executed by quarterback in Denver’s Peyton Manning.

“We’ve seen this stuff before,” McPhee said. “You can slow it down. You’ve just got to stay disciplined. Control them. Don’t let them control you.”

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