Eisenberg: Ravens' Goal Is to Build an 'Undefendable' Offense

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Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown celebrate after a touchdown.

It's fair to say the defense has dominated the spotlight up to this point in the Ravens' offseason.

That's the side of the ball where they've made marquee additions with Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe; the side where they've written major checks to retain Matthew Judon, Chuck Clark and Jimmy Smith; the side that many mock drafts and industry experts expect them to address with their top pick in next week's draft.

But the defensive moves and ongoing defensive chatter have obscured the Ravens' other major goal for this offseason.

In case anyone was sleeping on that goal, General Manager Eric DeCosta issued what amounted to a wake-up call during a media conference call last week.

"Hopefully, we can build our offense to the point where, as we say, to be undefendable," he said.

Ah, yes, the offense. Let's not forget the offense.

It was just about the best show in the NFL in 2019, a unique and dominating force led by quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens led the league in scoring, ranked second in total offense and set an all-time league record for team rushing yards in a season. Jackson was unanimously selected league MVP.

After years as Baltimore's second-fiddle unit, the offense is now charged with leading the Ravens toward the big dreams they rightfully entertain.

You haven't heard as much about it lately because most of its great pieces from 2019 were already under contract for 2020, lessening the workload in the roster-building process. But as great as they were on offense last year, the Ravens want to be even better this year. Their aim, as DeCosta said, is to be "undefendable."

His use of the U-word is figurative to a degree, of course; no offense has their way every time they touch the ball. But DeCosta clearly envisions a record-setting powerhouse – Revolution 2.0, if you will. And that's why the Ravens' 2020 draft, in the end, likely will be more about offense than defense.

Yes, they might start with a defensive selection. But also might take a wide receiver in the first round if the scenario breaks a certain way. And regardless, they'll constantly be looking to add difference-making offensive pieces throughout the event.

The end result likely will produce at least one new receiver, maybe two, and also a tight end, an interior offensive lineman or two, maybe an H-back, maybe a running back.

The possibilities are many, with the goal being to surround Jackson with an effective line and even more playmakers than he had last season, when he looked around the huddle at Mark Ingram II, Hollywood Brown, Mark Andrews, Willie Snead IV and others.

It was a terrific show, but the Ravens can't expect to replicate their offensive success or surpass it in 2020 without adjusting their personnel and scheme. Opposing defensive coordinators are already working on how to stop Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman's masterful blueprint. As ESPN's Jamison Hensley noted, nine of the past 10 highest-scoring offenses have scored fewer points the next year, with an average falloff of 5.76 points – nearly a touchdown.

Moral of the story: It's hard for a top-ranked offense to stay on top. And the Ravens' job is that much harder due to the retirement of their best offensive lineman, Marshal Yanda, and the subtraction of tight end Hayden Hurst.

But Jackson is just 23, so he has room to improve, which is quite a concept after last season. And if the Ravens succeed in surrounding him with more playmakers, a de facto track team, they'll be plenty difficult to stop.

No doubt, they're also focused on their defense, which struggled enough in the playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans that the front office has made a major investment in it.

But when he spoke to reporters at the NFL Combine in February, DeCosta explained that the Ravens need a solid defense to protect the big leads their explosive offense runs up. Everything starts with the offense now.

The Ravens have gone all in on the idea, and I'm guessing you'll be able to tell during the draft.

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