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Gary Kubiak working to put more life into Ravens’ offense; Bush expects Stafford to improve

Posted Jun 11, 2014

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Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Andy Dalton

The Baltimore Ravens are determined to put more life into an offense that ranked 29th in the NFL last season, a large reason why they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

To that end, they have hired Gary Kubiak, former coach of the Houston Texans, to be their offensive coordinator.

And through offseason workouts, Kubiak has been aggressive in his efforts to get players acclimated to a new scheme that emphasizes play-action passing, rollouts, a zone-blocking-based rushing attack and more running.

“I’m throwing the kitchen sink at them, and I have to kind of watch and see what sticks and what they do best,” Kubiak told reporters covering the Ravens. “When we come back for (training) camp, I’ll probably have to cut some things down, but they’ve been very receptive.

“The key thing is their work habits. That’s been very positive, and Joe (Flacco) is ahead of everybody on the curve from that standpoint, which he needs to be. I like what’s happening right now. I think we’re building something.”

So far, the players like what they’re seeing and doing. That’s especially true for fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who is expected to be more involved as a receiver out of the backfield.

“I like this offense way better than last year’s,” Juszczyk said. “I think it’s going to really pay off. I think we’re going to be very explosive. I like how it’s concept-based. We don’t run a ton of different concepts, but we run a lot of different formations and a lot of different looks. You can get a lot done with a small amount of install.”

REGGIE BUSH EXPECTS MATTHEW STAFFORD TO THRIVE IN NEW OFFENSE

With the hiring of new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, the Detroit Lions are expected to have an offense that closely resembles that of the team for which Lombardi previously worked as an assistant coach, the New Orleans Saints.

And that can only mean good things for the Lions’ offense, given the Saints’ prolific passing attack.

Running back Reggie Bush, who was with the Saints when Lombardi coached for them, sees one player in particular who will benefit greatly from Lombardi’s presence: quarterback Matthew Stafford, who struggled badly last season and can only count 2011 as where when both his performance and health held up well.

“There is not a lot Matt can’t do,” Bush was quoted as saying on NFL.com. “I think coach Lombardi’s going to be really good for him. A guy who coached for a great quarterback Drew Brees and under Sean Payton and they’ve done a lot of great things down there in New Orleans and I was part of that.

“I think it’s going to be a great offense for Matt and it’s going to be a big year for him.”

HUE JACKSON LIKES WHAT HE SEES FROM ANDY DALTON

Despite lingering questions about Andy Dalton’s contract situation and the fact he has not performed well in his winless postseason experiences with the Cincinnati Bengals, the quarterback has a strong supporter in new Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.

“I think he’s throwing the ball fantastic,” Jackson was quoted as saying in the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I really do. He’s improved. I see it. I see it on the practice field.”

Among the parts of Dalton’s game that Jackson likes are: command of the offense and the resulting increase of the offensive tempo, knowledge of the playbook, and ability to execute new elements of the scheme.

“I see a very confident player who goes in and calls the play and makes decisions, who redirected things and gets us in the right place,” Jackson said. “There’s not a lot of negative football plays. That’s what you want. He’s taken charge and control.”

STEELERS FINALLY FEEL THEY HAVE STABILITY ON THEIR OFFENSIVE LINE

Now that Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey is back after missing almost all last season with a knee injury and other injury and performance issues have seemingly been settled, the Pittsburgh Steelers are finally getting some stability on their offensive line.

The group they have lined up in offseason workouts and pretty much hope will be intact through the season includes: left tackle Kelvin Beachum, left guard Ramon Foster, Pouncey, right guard David DeCastro, and right tackle Marcus Gilbert.

Additionally, the group is guided by offensive line coach Mike Munchak, a Pro Football hall of Fame lineman.

“It's huge,” DeCastro was quoted as saying in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the line being stable. “Having Pouncey back, you can’t say enough about that. We get along really well. We know each other so well, we almost don’t need to make (line) calls because we know each other so well.

“What (Munchak) knows about the game, the little stuff (he shows his players) in technique, I can’t speak enough to him.”

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