I know how these things work. And I know people suddenly are worried about the prognosis for the Ravens offense in 2013.
Maybe more than a little worried. More like fleeing-a-burning-building worried.
It’s understandable to a degree. The first-team offense didn’t produce a point in the preseason opener in
Here’s my take: No, it was not anywhere close to good enough. That’s obvious. There was little run blocking or downfield passing. A big improvement is needed. That’s obvious.
But were you expecting perfection?
Think about the parts of the Ravens’ Super Bowl offense that were missing Thursday night. It’s a long list – surprisingly long once you add it up.
Matt Birk, the starting center, now retired wasn’t there. Neither were receivers Anquan Boldin or
That’s six major missing pieces from the offense that won the Super Bowl, including top blockers, top receivers and top runners. It’s a lot. As proficient as the Ravens are at plugging holes as they go with their “next man up” approach, that’s a ton of change, more than half due to injury.
To expect Flacco and the offense just to sail through all that turbulence without experiencing bumps is, well, expecting a lot.
Guaranteed, there are folks expecting that smooth sailing simply because Flacco signed his big contract in the offseason, their rationale being that, since he is now so highly paid, he ought to be able to put up points even if his huddle mates are cartoon characters wearing funny hats.
Phooey on that. Flacco can’t do it alone and no one should expect that. An offense is a complex engine that needs all of its cylinders to be firing to excel, and the Ravens didn’t even have their full complement of cylinders Thursday night.
In other words, let’s not get carried away. It’s too early to wake up sweating. The Ravens still have a pair of preseason games to play before beginning the regular season in
True, on the flip side, Boldin and Pitta aren’t coming back, Boldin because he was traded and Pitta because he suffered what was likely a season-ending hip injury, and the search for viable receiving targets to replace those mainstays is hardly flourishing. Flacco has yet to develop a palpable chemistry with any wideout other than Smith.
But this is why the preseason exists, to give teams time to confront their issues, identify kinks and try to iron them out. Honestly, poor performances just don’t matter; I would be hard-pressed to identify anything less meaningful in the long run than a lousy first half in Week 2 of the preseason. Two months from now, no one will remember it.
What matters in the long run is how well the team addresses its kinks, and it’s premature to start filling in the scorecard on the Ravens offense until the regular season is underway. For that matter, even the first part of the regular season is early. Teams evolve through October, November and December, as the Ravens did in 2012.
The goal is to get your act together in time to give yourself a chance in January, and well, as summer flutters on, that’s a long time from now. The offense has given us plenty to talk about, but let’s see what happens.