The on and off offensive struggles of the Ravens have been an oft debated topic throughout the franchise’s history but especially during the time Joe Flacco has been at the helm of the offense.
I said on Twitter last Sunday that Joe Flacco, is an average to above average quarterback and incurred the wrath of the Flacco fan club. The reality is that at times he looks like an excellent quarterback. At other times, however, he looks like he couldn’t even start for a high school team.
I have been a staunch defender of the 5th year QB since his beginnings in the organization. A defender that realizes that he is not elite, but that he is above average most of the time and is perfect for the offense that the Ravens have tried to implement since he began here.
Just as in previous years, the Ravens have seen their share of offensive struggles thus far in the season. Most notably, the games against the Chiefs and Texans were offensive quagmires to say the least.
There are a few easily fixed but painfully obvious weaknesses I have seen as the reason for these struggles.
One, the no huddle offense that Cam Cameron has tried to institute this year has been a lateral move. The pace at which the offense runs it is not near as fast enough to confuse the opposing defense nor tire them out because it still allows the defense to make minor substitutions.
While they said they would still commit to running the ball out of it, Ray Rice is currently on pace for close to 50 less touches than last year. One reason for this is the Ravens either inability or simple disregard for running the ball out of the shotgun formation. It seems as if it is only reserved for making room for punts on third and long. The fact is that running the ball out of the shotgun could do a lot to open up the passing game.
Furthermore, Flacco’s ability to sell the play action is one of the worst I have ever seen (one of the only things he truly does ‘bad’). This is ability is very underrated and doing it well can make you considerably better as a player and an offense. Tom Brady is a player who really does this well.
This has always been a weakness of Flacco’s but his tendency to stare down receivers has always hurt him; especially during pressure situations such as third down or when trailing. Working with Jim Caldwell has made him a little better at this but there is still work to do.
The Ravens have another week to fix these shortcomings as well as the others I have missed or failed to point out. While the team is in fact 5-2, they are not as good as their record indicates.