Ravens Experimenting With More No-Huddle


The Ravens offense is hitting the accelerator.

Baltimore started its first preseason game in Atlanta in the hurry-up offense. Even though it wasn't successful – as the team had three straight three-and-outs – Baltimore is sticking with the process.

The Ravens also used it often in Tuesday's practice, with quarterback Joe Flacco constantly calling out different instructions to his teammates.

After "dabbling" in the hurry-up offense the past few years, according to Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, the Ravens appear to be giving it more of a tryout in training camp.

"I don't think you can turn on a game anymore at any level – high school, college or the NFL – where somebody is not running some no-huddle, some tempo," Cameron said. "I think it's good for us to see if it's a fit."

Cameron said the Ravens' hurry-up offense is essentially a version of their two-minute offense, which performed quite well last season.

Baltimore marched down the field against Arizona, in Pittsburgh and in New England in the AFC championship. While it didn't find much success Tuesday in practice, the offense has fared well overall in two-minutes drills in practice.

And the starting man under center is very much in favor of it.

"I love the no-huddle," Flacco said Sunday. "We've got to get quicker and quicker at it. I like to go up there and run a play, run a play, run a play. That's what we're going to be, and I think we have to make sure we get it as fast as we can."

Running in the no-huddle is easier on the offensive line, Cameron said. It can wear down a defense (particularly its pass rush) quicker, and is also less running for the big men up front.

It can also allow the quarterback to get into more of a rhythm. Flacco has shown over his four years that when he's locked in, he's extremely hard to stop.

"I don't know a quarterback that it doesn't suit well," Cameron said. "I think it needs to suit your offense. It needs to fit your offensive line, it needs to fit your receivers. Quarterbacks love it, offensive coordinators love it."

But there are also downsides to the approach, as seen in the preseason opener. If an offense isn't executing, it leads to quick three-and-outs and forces a defense quickly back onto the field. It can wear down a team's own defense.

"It works really well when you convert; it doesn't look so good when you don't convert," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "If we chose to go that tempo, [then] we don't convert, our defense is going to have to get stops. … You have to understand how that goes."

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