The limited time players can spend working at the team facility in the offseason has prompted plenty of players on plenty of teams to find ways to get together on their own time.
For the Ravens, the spirit was willing in 2014, but the flesh decided it was impractical.
“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,” quarterback Joe Flacco tells the Ravens in an interview touted on Twitter by the team as an exclusive! (Great get!) “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.”
He hadn’t spent any time with the coaches talking about the offense because the rules regarding the offseason prevent time from being spent between players and coaches before the start of the offseason program. (Peyton Manning and Adam Gase think that’s cute.) So with no guidance from new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, guys like Flacco and receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta and receiver Jacoby Jones would have been largely wasting their time.
“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.
Flacco also pointed to the logistics of having to get everyone together at an off-site location, noting that it would be easier if the rules simply allowed players who wanted to work together at the team’s facilities in the early months of the offseason to do so.
“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.”
Curiously (or not), the comments selected by the Ravens’ website for highlighting in an article that hopefully would be picked up by independent media outlets mesh with a sentiment previously expressed by coach John Harbaugh.
“They want to go see their position coach,” Harbaugh said. “They want to learn football. It’s their craft. And we’re saying, ‘No, you can’t do it?’ Why? Because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that makes no sense? Because somebody wanted to get their little win here vs. their little win over there? Get together and do what’s best for these players, and it’s about time that somebody stepped to the plate and realized that and [took] the politics out of it.”
His point continues to be valid, and now the team’s official website is pushing that same agenda via comments harvested in an exclusive! interview with the organization’s highest-paid employee. While the method seems a little questionable, the result in this specific case would benefit plenty of teams — especially the ones honoring the rules that currently are on the books.