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State of the (Ravens) Offense - 2018 Preseason Edition

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coordinator0    24

So, we're back to this again. As we all know the defense is pretty exciting, whether it be just looking at the current roster or the potential of some younger players down the line. But the offense on the other hand... yeesh.

Flacco won't play in preseason and he's more than likely going to be limited for training camp reps too (when he even gets back to practice). Mallett isn't great if he has to get in during the regular season. Don't think he's quite as awful as his reported camp and first preseason game has been so far, but he's still not good. At running back Dixon is out for the year and the other options are decidedly unnoteworthy actually running the ball, maybe decently competent at best.

Wide receiver might actually be in the best shape with Maclin and Wallace leading the way but Perriman is missing important training camp reps again and it sounds like Chris Moore hasn't been doing much. Tim White was an exciting young prospect, but he's out for the year. Adeboyejo has been getting some hype but I'm not sure he can make the team without having special teams versatility. Tight end has been devastated by injuries. The team still has Boyle, Williams, and Watson which is still a solid group but there are concerns about all three of them being able to stay on the field too. 

And then there's the travesty that the offensive line has become. Seriously, are we looking at a starting group of Stanley, Hurst, Jensen, Yanda, and Howard? Ronnie and Marshal could be elite on their own but the offensive line as a whole would still be incredibly underwhelming. If Jensen turns out to be something that would help, yet still starting Hurst at left guard and hoping Howard isn't terrible at right tackle... nope. This is going to be bad.

With all that said, what does everybody else think of Baltimore's offense this season? I'm having a hard time finding much hope, but maybe someone else can convince me. Below is the current offensive roster in somewhat of a depth chart form but it's nothing to be taken too seriously.

QB: Joe Flacco / Ryan Mallett / Dustin Vaughan / Josh Woodrum

RB: Terrance West / Danny Woodhead / Javorius Allen / Bobby Rainey / Taquan Mizzell / Kenneth Dixon

FB: Lorenzo Taliaferro / Ricky Ortiz

WR: Jeremy Maclin / Mike Wallace / Breshad Perriman / Chris Moore / Michael Campanaro / Keenan Reynolds / Griff Whalen / Kenny Bell / Chris Matthews / Quincy Adeboyejo / C.J. Board / Tim White

TE: Nick Boyle / Maxx Williams / Benjamin Watson / Vince Mayle / Ryan Malleck / Larry Donnell

OT: Ronnie Stanley / Austin Howard / De'Ondre Wesley / Stephane Nembot / Roubbens Joseph

OG: Marshal Yanda / James Hurst / Jermaine Eluemunor / Jarell Broxton / Jarrod Pughsley / Maurquice Shakir / Nico Siragusa  / Alex Lewis

C: Ryan Jensen / Matt Skura / Derrick Nelson

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wackywabbit    30

My view of the offense is basically that we are praying for mediocrity. Flacco needs to be healthy for that happen, first and foremost. I don't care what the general public feels about him, outside the first half of last season where he was coming off the injury and was legitimately really bad, he's good enough to deliver competence on his side of the ball from whatever he gets to work with. Mallet is awful. 

The line is definitely worrying with Hurst back in there. Not much to say about it though. It's just been brutal how we lost our interior guys.

The wide receivers, I am still optimistic about. Best trio Flacco's ever had, if they can stay healthy. And I think the TEs should be ok. With Woodhead out of the backfield, there is a nice group to throw to if Flacco gets time.

What I'm really watching is the RB position. We want to be a volume/power running offense, and it's a good idea to pair with our defense. But, Terrance West is such a mediocre player to be the main factor in 250-300 snaps. It would make a HUGE difference if we are somehow able to upgrade the position. I know trading a pick for a rental isn't the FO's style, but I'm still dreaming of Carlos Hyde. What would it take? I'd do a 4th; it could change our season. If not, I think Ryan Matthews is worth bringing in if/when he's cut. He's way too injury prone to count on, but we can at least make a committee with him. Buck Allen doesn't look like he belongs and we need more than one runner. The wild card is Taquan Mizzell. It's a longshot that he is the miracle solution, but it's really the only hope I see on the roster. He's THE player to watch for me on that side of the ball the rest of the preseason. The Kenneth Dixon injury was the worst thing to happen, in a brutal offseason. 

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drd23    37
4 hours ago, coordinator0 said:

With all that said, what does everybody else think of Baltimore's offense this season?

At this stage, I'm resigned to this being a bottom 5 offense this year - and as such am not hopeful of making the play-offs unless they can improve to be somewhat average or the defense is absolutely lights out.  I just don't trust that Flacco can elevate his game enough to overcome what is projecting to be a horrible OL and a poor RBBC.

I'll be happy enough with the offense if Flacco can show he's back to pre-ACL injury form, Jensen shows enough to persist with at C and we get at least one unproven player at a skill position (Moore, Mizzell, Adeboyejo etc) to show something worth getting excited about

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Danand    13
1 hour ago, drd23 said:

At this stage, I'm resigned to this being a bottom 5 offense this year - and as such am not hopeful of making the play-offs unless they can improve to be somewhat average or the defense is absolutely lights out.  I just don't trust that Flacco can elevate his game enough to overcome what is projecting to be a horrible OL and a poor RBBC.

I'll be happy enough with the offense if Flacco can show he's back to pre-ACL injury form, Jensen shows enough to persist with at C and we get at least one unproven player at a skill position (Moore, Mizzell, Adeboyejo etc) to show something worth getting excited about

I was less than confident in our oline before we lost 3 players and added Howard. At worst we look at something like 2013, where we could neither pass protect or run the football. Just as any other quarterback, Flacco can't do much, when he doesn't have an above average oline. Again, if howard can be  just as that right tackle we got from the bengals who played well enough for us (can't remember his name, other than he had a flag negated because he was confused.), and Jensen proves something at center,  we just have to find a decent LG/RG to make it work, so I am not THAT worried.

 

But overall, this look like a top 12 defense and bottom 12 offense. If we have to go anywhere, we need GOAT Tucker and the special teams to provide something.

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paraven    12

The way I see it, is the defense will be key to the offenses success. Last year was so brutal to watch because the secondary was terrible. Flacco knew this and was forced to throw the ball 5 million times. If the defense can be top 5 I can see our offense being middle of the pack, with flacco not having to force things. We upgraded wr, and running backs are the same as last year. Only I issue I have is oline. So If somehow this line can play well, then I think the offense will surprise people 

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They should let Yanda play at LG and put Hurst at RG. Rather have an elite left side than have holes all along the line.

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Darth Pees    8
2 hours ago, BareYourTeeth said:

They should let Yanda play at LG and put Hurst at RG. Rather have an elite left side than have holes all along the line.

I'm always skeptical about positional changes across the OL after the Michael Oher fiasco of the past; but if there's one guy who has shown he can be elite at any OL position, it's Marshal Yanda. Furthermore, the 2005 Seahawks showed the world how dominant you can be with a great left side of your OL and mediocrity everywhere else.

I think I agree with this assessment, but it's plausibility I don't think is that high. I think we're just going to have to make due with what we have on the OL and hope for the best. For me, the only way I see this offense being successful is if we have an above-average running game which unlocks our ability to use play action down the field. That's it. We're not winning games this year throwing 30+ times (not that we ever have, but this year especially).

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M.10.E    3

Mediocre offense, great defense - The Baltimore Raven way.

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coordinator0    24

But the offensive line isn't going to be good enough to lead the way for an above-average running game. They proved that last season. Jensen should be better than Zuttah in that respect, but Howard is worse than Wagner. And Hurst is a gigantic downgrade if he's at either guard spot. I think I might like the idea of Stanley / Yanda / Jensen / Hurst / Howard too, but it's not like defenses are going to be fooled. They'll just stack up towards the stronger side of the line and win one-on-one against the weaker side. 

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sp6488    13
2 hours ago, coordinator0 said:

But the offensive line isn't going to be good enough to lead the way for an above-average running game. They proved that last season. Jensen should be better than Zuttah in that respect, but Howard is worse than Wagner. And Hurst is a gigantic downgrade if he's at either guard spot. I think I might like the idea of Stanley / Yanda / Jensen / Hurst / Howard too, but it's not like defenses are going to be fooled. They'll just stack up towards the stronger side of the line and win one-on-one against the weaker side. 

I think we may be well served using Danny Woodhead out of the backfield as an alternative running game.  A lot of screens and quick swing passes to help keep the defense from teeing off on Flacco.

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wackywabbit    30
Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, sp6488 said:

I think we may be well served using Danny Woodhead out of the backfield as an alternative running game.  A lot of screens and quick swing passes to help keep the defense from teeing off on Flacco.

This is what we've done the last 2 seasons, and it hasn't worked. Screens don't work when they are as frequently used and predictable as they have been for us. And they don't take as much pressure off the QB as an actual running game. The pass rushers are still charging right at the QB at the snap vs a run play where the have to pivot to the back immediately.

We need to actually run the ball, and it seems like they are committed to doing that and sticking with it as it stalls. What we have to do is figure out how to make it not as inefficient as it seems like it's going to be. Which goes back to the idea of picking up a better running back.

Even if not for the starting spot, we need to upgrade on Buck Allen. While he's a good pass catcher, he is below replacement level as a runner. Woodhead is going to be our pass catching back and he's not going to be used THAT much as a runner. We can't be in a situation where Buck Allen gets 100+ carries. It'd be a huge waste of snaps. 

Edited by wackywabbit

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I actually really like this offense. If Perriman lives up to potential like I think he will him Maclin, Wallace, and Woodhead on the field is a matchup nightmare. 

I am really worried about the depth on the OLine because you rarely keep all 5 healthy for 16 games and there's nothing behind the starting 5 right now. Also concerned about Marty's aversion to the run game.

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coordinator0    24

@wackywabbit has it right. The Ravens have tried to use the screen game and they just don't do it well. This offensive line will do them no favors in that regard either. Might actually be worse for it. Howard is less mobile than Wagner and Hurst is awful. Jensen is less mobile than Zuttah too, although that's Jeremy's only redeeming quality at this point. Though for what it's worth with Allen he's apparently having the best camp of all the backs so his spot is probably safe barring a big turnaround. 

@DontTazeMeBro good to see you again. It's been a while. For what it's worth I like the idea of the passing game too... just that the other elements of the offense won't let the team fully exploit it. Flacco isn't good without protection and this offensive line won't give it to him. The running game, even if Mornhinweg sticks to it, isn't good enough to take pressure off of Flacco either. Whether it's the backs just being bleh or the line not being able to open anything up the situation is brutal. 

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Danand    13

There are elements to like, and the receiving options are a big part of it. But what we are all referring to is, that we have an offense which with ease can become one dimensional. 

Those games have killed us in the past.

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