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Steve Smith: Pick Your Poison With Ravens Offense

Posted Aug 13, 2014

The Ravens' success against the 49ers 'wasn’t a fluke,' wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. said.

The Ravens’ first-team offense opened the preseason with the kind of performance that has fans drooling about what the group may do this season.

Quarterback Joe Flacco orchestrated a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive where he distributed the ball to four different targets and also involved three players out of the backfield. It was just one series of the first preseason game, but it was an indication that the Ravens have surrounded Flacco with pieces to be a potent offense in 2014.

“What we did in the game wasn’t a fluke,” wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. said.

The offensive success against the 49ers indicated the Ravens have quickly made the adjustment to new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system, which is founded on the running game and the quarterback’s ability to spread the ball around the field.

In order for the scheme to work, the offense needs to have many options – and the Ravens like what they have in that department.

“With the weapons we have, I think [opponents] will have to pick their poison,” Smith said. “You can never have too many horses in the stable. When you have that opportunity, it makes it a lot easier on the offensive coordinator.”

The Ravens have put players around Flacco that constitutes arguably the best supporting cast of his career.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith is one of the NFL’s best up-and-coming receivers, who topped 1,000 yards last season for the first time. Steve Smith, tight end Owen Daniels and running back Ray Rice are veterans with nine combined Pro Bowls between them. Tight end Dennis Pitta is healthy after last year’s hip injury and is one of Flacco’s favorite targets. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones is a proven home-run threat.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk is a versatile player who can create matchup problems out of the backfield, and wide receiver Marlon Brown and running back Bernard Pierce are both young players with loads of potential.

All of those playmakers have the potential to put up big numbers, and figuring out how to distribute the workload is a good problem for the Ravens to have.

“This guy may have a lot of catches and a lot of yards [one week], and the other guys may not. And then the next week, a team is going to focus on shutting down that guy and then another guy [steps up],” Smith said. “I think that benefits us.”

The offense was clearly encouraged by its opening performance against the 49ers, but players cautioned against taking too much away from one preseason game. The Ravens have another shot to show progress in the preseason this Saturday when they take on the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

“There is a lot to build on,” Flacco said. “I think we built a good foundation there. I think each week from here on out we have to keep showing that improvement and building off what we did."

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