The topic of Joe Flacco organizing off-site workouts with his wide receivers was a popular one during the early months of the offseason.
Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones all said that Flacco wanted to make it happen, but the group was never able to get together before voluntary offseason workouts started in mid-April.
During his first sit-down interview since the end of last season, Flacco explained why those workouts never took place.
[NOTE: The full interview with Flacco will run Thursday at 7 a.m.]
"The truth about it this offseason is that you couldn't meet your coaches or anything like that and it's a completely new offense," Flacco said. "I knew nothing about this offense besides what I could get from my playbook when they sent it to me. But I hadn't spent any time with any coaches talking about this offense [because of NFL rules].
The Ravens are in the midst of a total scheme change with new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak, and CBA rules prohibited Flacco from meeting with the new coaching staff to learn the system. Even if Flacco organized workouts at an off-site location, Kubiak would not have been allowed to attend.
"It would have even been really tough for me to let guys know what to do, or what I wanted them to do because I wouldn't have known what to do at that point," Flacco said.
The rules also put restraints on players holding on-field practices at team facilities during offseason months before voluntary workouts begin.
"It would be easy if you could come in here [the Under Armour Performance Center] and do it, but because of the rules we're not allowed to," Flacco said. "Everybody is in different directions."
Flacco and his targets all use the offseason months to get away from the game and enjoy some time with family. Players spread out all over the country, and this offseason was particularly challenging to find time because several players have young children.
Smith's wife had the couple's first child in April, Pitta has a 1-year-old son and Flacco has two boys of his own under two years old. Steve Smith, Sr.'s wife is also pregnant, and he and Jones weren't signed until March with voluntary workouts starting the next month.
While Flacco and the receivers didn't meet up for off-campus workouts, they have been in Baltimore for voluntary workouts the last month. Flacco, Smith, Smith Sr., Pitta, Jones, Marlon Brown, Ray Rice, and Owen Daniels have all been consistent participants in the program and have since been able to learn Kubiak's system in the classroom.* *