Gary Kubiak did an excellent job last season as the Ravens’ play-caller. If Kubiak performs well in that role in Week 1 next season, it will be a problem for the Ravens.
The Ravens’ season-opener in Denver on Sept. 13 will match Kubiak, the Broncos’ head coach and former Ravens offensive coordinator, against his former team. It will be interesting to see how Kubiak attacks the Ravens’ defense, but don’t be surprised if the Broncos feature plenty of three wide receiver sets featuring Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cody Lattimer.
Ravaged by injuries last season, the Ravens’ secondary often had trouble matching up, particularly after cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot injury) was lost for the season. While Smith expects to be ready Week 1, opening the season against the Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning will be a severe test for the Ravens’ secondary. Thomas was second in the league in receiving yards last season (1,619), Sanders was fifth (1,404), and Kubiak has been raving about Lattimer’s improvement this offseason.
Kubiak plans to call plays from the sideline in Denver, but Manning will have plenty of latitude to change plays at the line of scrimmage.
“I think you prepare to help him call that game during the course of the week,” Kubiak told ESPN.com at the league meetings. “One of the things about having a veteran, especially like Peyton, he’s going to let you know ‘This is what I do best, and this is what I feel comfortable with.’…You’re never going to take him out of his comfort zone and what he feels like he does best.”
Kubiak has intimate knowledge of the Ravens’ defense, while Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees is very familiar with Kubiak and his play calling philosophies. Sounds like a chess match worth watching. The Ravens hope to keep Kubiak, Manning and company in check.