A new trend in the NFL has emerged over the past couple of seasons, and it could explode pretty soon; more teams are becoming increasingly creative with how they align their top wide receivers. Big wideouts like Stevie Johnson and Vincent Jackson have been used in the slot at times to create mis-matches, and it seems like the Detroit Lions are going to take a page out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills old playbook by using Calvin Johnson around the formation more often.
According to Lions official site beat writer Tim Twentyman, innovative offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi stated that we should expect to see Megatron utilized “inside”, “outside”, and in “motion” all across the formation. Lombardi’s wrinkles will be exciting to watch, and I think we’ll see quite a bit of mix-and-match between Johnson and new wideout Golden Tate, who should have a huge year in a high-volume passing attack after being constrained by the smashmouth Seattle Seahawks offense. Both players will open things up for each other in a symbiotic relationship, and further growth from Matthew Stafford will ensure that Johnson has another ridiculous season.
The Baltimore Ravens are going to get more creative with the former Houston Texans duo of Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison on the staff, and we already know that they have big plans to take advantage of star TE Dennis Pitta’s versatility (both are TE friendly coaches as well). Now, the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson reports that Ravens star receiver Torrey Smith expects a “versatile role” in the offense, as they will use him on shorter routes to take advantage of his explosiveness in those areas of the field.
It’s a welcome addition to Smith’s route-running repertoire, and one that will have a nice effect on Joe Flacco and the rest of the Ravens offense. Steve Smith and Torrey Smith could be used in this mix-and-match manner, as they can win anywhere on the field, with both being major threats downfield, especially with Flacco’s arm. The Ravens passing attack looks exciting on paper, but a lot could depend on the offensive line playing to its potential and stronger rushing to help open things up for the passing game.