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First Impressions Of Gary Kubiak's Playbook


Now that the Ravens are back in the classroom as part of the voluntary strength and conditioning program, players have been able to dig into new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's playbook for the first time with coaches this offseason.

And the early reactions are quite positive.

"Overall, I'd say everybody is really happy with it," running back Bernard Pierce said.

"It's much easier. It's a lot more simplified than last year, honestly. But this system, you can pretty much run the same play out of every formation. That gives us an edge in moving the defense around."

Pierce specifically said the blocking schemes for the running backs are more simplified.

"Usually we have one or two reads in protection," he said. "Last year, we had multiple reads and a lot of audibles and it got kind of confusing. I think it will give a chance to play faster."

Kubiak is known for his run-first, West Coast offense. A physical zone run scheme sets the tone and the rest of the offense works off that, often using play-action passing.

Kubiak uses multiple tight ends often, which enable him to use pass and run plays out of the same formation, thus masking the intentions from the defense.

"I would say so far, I'm very impressed on how Coach Kubiak is going to put guys in mismatches," new veteran wide receiver Steve Smith said. "He's already talking about teams that we play and what primary defenses they run."

Smith said that every offense pretty much runs the same plays. The differences come in how they word things, line up and match up players.

Even though he's a 34-year-old, 14-year veteran, Smith is almost like a rookie again trying to learn the system. He's one of the many trying to play catch-up and learn Kubiak's system. Not all veterans usually come to voluntary workouts, but Smith has been a regular in Owings Mills.

"I think the onus is on you when you're an older player to grasp the offense sooner," Smith said. "You try to be that guy that can grasp it, can teach and learn little things. That's the gift and the curse of being a veteran.

"The other [side] of the coin is you have absolutely no idea what you're doing. I'm faking it till I make it. I'm nodding my head and sometimes I have no idea. I'm writing everything down and taking notes. As a note taker, you bookmark that page and go back. That'll come, and that's just part of the deal."

The Ravens players do have help to turn to as there are players who have previously played under Kubiak at wide receiver (Jacoby Jones), running back (Justin Forsett) and tight end (Owen Daniels). Kubiak also brought Quarterbacks Coach Rick Dennison and Tight Ends Coach Brian Pariani with him from Houston to help teach his system.

"I've been helping out all the tight ends – kind of everybody," Daniels said. "Jacoby is here to help and has some pretty good recall on it. Justin has some good recall from his days in Houston too. But I've been in it the longest."

Kubiak has tweaked his system to adapt to the Ravens' personnel and what's already in place.

"There are some different wrinkles and different terms in terms of blocking schemes and calls up front that guys here have used in the past," he said.

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