When the Ravens hired Marc Trestman as the new offensive coordinator this offseason, they opted to keep in place the same west-coast system from 2014 that led to one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history.
Gary Kubiak installed the offense last year, and Trestman hasn't made any sweeping changes during his time on the job. But an area where Trestman could incorporate his twist is by putting Joe Flacco in shotgun situations, which the quarterback expects to see more of this season.
"We barely used it at all last year," Flacco said. "We'll probably be in it a little bit more here and there, just to get away."
How much does Trestman expect to use the shotgun?
"We're an under-the-center, offensive football team, and we'll use the shotgun when it's appropriate – whether it's third down or a second-down situation," Trestman said. "If we're in first down, we'll throw it out there, and that's going to be part of our offense."
Using more shotgun than what they did under Kubiak wouldn't be hard to do because, as Flacco joked "we probably only used it two times last year."
He actually attempted 213 passes out of the formation last season, which was the lowest of any quarterback who started at least 10 games. By comparison, San Diego's Philip Rivers led the NFL with 541 passing attempts out of the shotgun.
Flacco basically lived out of the shotgun in 2013 when Jim Caldwell was the offensive coordinator and directed a Peyton Manning-style attack. He threw 508 passes (86.6 percent of all drop backs) out of shotgun formations that season, third-most in the NFL. There's probably little coincidence between that high number and the Ravens' ground game struggling.
Trestman was a heavy user of the shotgun last season in Chicago as quarterback Jay Cutler attempted 436 passes out of the formation, eighth most in the league.
Trestman has said on numerous occasions that his tendencies are based on personnel – both his players and the opponent – and he's emphasized that the Ravens offense will be predicated on running the football. Justin Forsett led all running backs in yards per carry average last season, and the Ravens plan to start on the ground again. Flacco seems to excel under center, too. Over the last five seasons, Flacco's passer rating in the shotgun is only 81.1, which as 21st in the NFL, per ESPN.
"Ultimately, we're under the center, and it all starts with Justin in the dot, and it all starts with forcing each and every defense to defend the run and running the football first," Trestman said.