In NFL time, two weeks is really a lifetime. And for a focused team, significant progress and change can be implemented, especially when it’s a necessity. The Baltimore Ravens will square off with the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, aka the HarBowl, and the Ravens are staring down a real problem that could keep them from winning this game. But there could be one move the Ravens could make that would make a world of difference.
The problem the Ravens are going to run into is how to defend the pistol set that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has implemented in great depth as part of the 49ers offense. He’s been able to do this because of his starting quarterback. Colin Kaepernick ran this offense at the University of Nevada and was dominant there.
Kaepernicke has been able to translate it to the NFL, and in back to back weeks he’s shown both sides of the pistol, one week winning an NFL game with his legs, and the following week doing so with his arm. Neither the Green Bay Packers or Atlanta Falcons had the answer to crack the riddle of the pistol, and because of that they will be watching the Super Bowl from home.
But the Ravens have an advantage here, and they could have two. First they have two weeks to prepare for the all the subtle variations of the pistol offense the 49ers are running and that should help prepare them better for what is to come. But if I were Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, within minutes of booking their ticket to New Orleans, I would have made a phone call to Chris Ault, the architect of the pistol offense, Kaepernick’s former head coach, and all around football genius. I’d have offered him a check containing many zeroes, and bring him in as a consultant to the Ravens defensive coaching staff. If there is a human being on Earth who can offer some answers as to how to counter the pistol it is Ault. And he’s not currently employed so there would be no conflict there.
Before anyone says it, I understand that Ault would have some level of loyalty to Kaepernick, and this could preclude him from accepting the role. But you have to try. If you don’t, you are putting yourself behind the 8-ball with what their defense can do and doing a disservice to your team.
Even if Ault never set foot on the practice field, the knowledge he could simply pass on to the Ravens coaches in the meeting room would be invaluable. The Super Bowl is the biggest event in professional sports and there’s no point in leaving anything on the table. The Ravens would be wise to try and lure Ault into the fold even on a limited basis if they want to have a chance of beating the 49ers.
What do you think? Would Ault do it, or would it matter? Come find me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and don’t forget to use the hashtag #RML.