In addition to the projected offensive line turnover, the Ravens will be looking to a pair of young and unproven rushers to take up the slack in running between the tackles (whomever those tackles may be) and the same essential group of receivers that they had last season. Last season the Ravens seemed reluctant to trust the hands of those receivers and hesitant to throw the ball between the hash marks.
One of the advantages of having a strong armed quarterback like Flacco, especially with a suspect group of pass catchers, is the ability to use the outside of the field in the passing game. By throwing outside the numbers the offense can take comfort in the likelihood that uncaught passes will wind up out of bounds, as opposed to landing in the waiting arms of defensive backs when miscues happen over the middle. Until the Ravens identify some targets in whom they have comfort throwing over the middle there’ll be a large portion of the field unused in the passing game, thereby enabling opposing defenses to sit on routes outside of the hash marks and shut them down more effectively.
The league’s top passing offenses all seem to have at least one mismatch inducing giant able to exploit the middle of the field and able to go up and get passes in traffic even when they are covered by conventional standards. There again the Ravens seem to be lacking.
We’d all like to see Flacco and the offense take a step forward in their development this season, and with the perceived steps backward being taken on the defensive side of the ball that progress is likely more imperative than ever.
We’ve heard plenty of suggestions that it’s time for Flacco, Cameron and the offense to step up and shoulder more of the load. Sooner or later the Ravens will have to provide them with the weapons to do that. For now it appears they may again be set to meander though another frustrating offensive campaign.