The start of the offseason program is rapidly approaching.
The Ravens begin their voluntary offseason conditioning next month, and then the organized team activities (OTAs) typically take place starting in May. Several key players – quarterback Joe Flacco, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and running back Ray Rice – have already indicated to Head Coach John Harbaugh that they plan on participating in OTAs.
But Flacco may even get a jump ahead of OTAs by holding some workouts of his own.
During a press conference Wednesday to announce his new five-year contract, tight end Dennis Pitta said that he has talked with Flacco about organizing workouts with him and some of the other receivers.
"We've talked about it, and nothing is set in stone right now, but I know that's something Joe wants to get done," Pitta said.
This is an offseason of transition for the Ravens, as new coordinator Gary Kubiak has worked to build an offensive staff and install the playbook. The playbook was completed after the NFL Scouting Combine last month, and the next step was to get it in Flacco's hands so he could start to master it.
"Joe can take it and run with it and prepare for the OTAs," Harbaugh said.
Getting together with the wide receivers could help the unit get into rhythm after a frustrating 2012 campaign. Flacco threw a career-high 22 interceptions last season, and never seemed to get fully in sync with the receiving corps after Pitta's injury and Anquan Boldin's departure.
"We were just [a little bit] off," Flacco said after the season finale against the Bengals. "If you're just [a little bit] off and when you're [a little bit] off throughout the course of the game over the course of 16 games, you're not going to be special enough to win football games."
Organizing private workouts has been a trend for quarterbacks around the NFL, as Peyton and Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have all done that in recent years.
Meeting with some of his offensive teammates ahead of the official workouts would give Flacco and the unit a chance to get a better grasp on the new system. It would also put them ahead of the curve heading into training camp, as time with the coaching staff is limited during the voluntary portion of the offseason.
Finding time to get together during the offseason is a challenge because players live all over the country and use the down time to take vacation or visit family, but Flacco is committed to finding time to make it happen.
"[Flacco] wants to be able to meet with us and kind of get on the same page and go over some of the new things that we're going to be doing," Pitta said. "I'm sure we'll get that ironed out in the next few weeks."