Ravens Look To Confuse Gabbert

Baltimore will be facing tenth-overall draft pick, quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, Week 7 at Jaguars

Joe Flacco knows a thing or two about being a starting rookie quarterback in the NFL.

So what’s his advice for Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert on Monday Night Football?

“You’ve got to go in there and you’ve got to focus on what you’re doing,” Flacco said.

That’s easy for him to say. He never had to face the Ravens’ defense in a game.

The amount of movement and different looks Baltimore’s defense shows requires any quarterback to be adept at reading schemes and anticipating pressure. And it’s the precise reason why the Ravens have an advantage over rookie quarterbacks such as Gabbert.

For example, last year Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy threw three interceptions, including two to safety Ed Reed, in his first meeting with the Ravens defense. He completed 15-of-29 passes for just 149 yards.

Linebacker Ray Lewis said it takes somebody who has studied the Ravens’ defense a long time to “dial in on exactly what we do.” Rookie quarterbacks are often just worrying about themselves.

“It’s more basic for them trying to play against us instead of trying to figure all of the moving around out,” Lewis said. “Our package is disguising the swarm and then giving them something once the ball is snapped.”

It’s not only deception in coverage, but a high amount of pressure on the youngsters that physically and mentally affect them. Baltimore brings it from every angle and with numerous players. They disguise that pressure too.

“We’re built in such a way that it’s hard to recognize what we are doing,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “I also think we have players who understand the system. So, guys like Ed Reed, he’s a master of disguise. It helps.”

Gabbert, who was drafted tenth-overall this April, will be playing in just his sixth NFL game. But he does have the benefit of having faced some other tricky defenses already this season.

The Missouri product entered a blowout Week 2 game against the New York Jets late. He started against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ elaborate defense and completed 12 of 26 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

Gabbert has a strong arm that can burn opposing defenses. He also has quite a bit of mobility.

But he’s also shown those classic rookie trademarks. He has five fumbles (lost two) in five games. He’s taken 14 sacks already and is completing less than 50 percent of his passes.

Asked whether he salivates at the idea of facing a rookie quarterback, Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said it depends.

“A first-round pick, not so much,” he said. “First-round picks, they have the talent. They’re there for a reason.

“So if you let him build his confidence, if he knows where he’s going with the football, he can make you look bad in a hurry. You want to keep them as rookies and don’t want to let them go back to the talent and the confidence they have.”

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