How Different Is Ravens Offense?


Another year, another offensive coordinator in Baltimore.

The Ravens have their fourth offensive coordinator in as many years, and haven't had one for two consecutive full seasons since Cam Cameron in 2010-2011.

That's not slowing the Ravens down, however. Head Coach John Harbaugh made sure that sentiment got across after Thursday's second Organized Team Activities (OTAs) practice.

"You guys are way more focused on that than I am," he said. "It's year-to-year in this league. You try to put the best group together you can every single year."

So how different is the playbook this year?

Quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. also didn't seem to think the change was a big deal. Yes, it's a bit different, they said, but it's not like they're starting over.

"It doesn't feel like a Year 1 [in the system]," Flacco said. "I feel really comfortable with some things, but it's still nice to get out here in these practices and run through some things that you're getting for the first time and seeing how everybody reacts to it."

Despite the change in coordinators, the Ravens have really only had one offensive system change under Harbaugh's tenure. That came last year with Gary Kubiak. Kubiak ushered in more of a West Coast system, and it worked.

The Ravens offense put up franchise highs in points and yards per game. It suited Flacco, running back Justin Forsett, the offensive line, the tight ends and the receivers.

Thus, when Kubiak took his dream job as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, Harbaugh wanted to stay rooted in the same system. He hired Trestman, who comes from the same West Coast background and has tons of experience in many different facets of the game.

Still, Trestman is his own person. He's not a Kubiak clone, and will add his own wrinkles to the offense. Trestman was quite verbal during Thursday's practice and effusive in his praise.

"There are a lot of similarities, but hey, it's a new coordinator, it's a new team," Flacco said. "So, there are a lot of little verbiage changes and new concepts and new ways of teaching things. It's always going to be a little different when you get somebody new."

Flacco has been working with Trestman and nearly all of his receivers since "football school" began immediately following the NFL Draft. They weren't in helmets or any pads, and they couldn't go against a defense, but they could be on the field with coaches and each other.

Now that the Ravens are in OTAs, it's much more like real football. Flacco and the offense are going against the defense in 11-on-11 drills, just without hitting.

Through three weeks of football school and a couple OTA practices, Flacco has been pleased with how the group is working in Trestman's offense.

"I think we're doing a really good job of breaking the huddle, getting out, getting lined up," he said. "All the mistakes we're having are kind of little things that are very easily corrected, and I think we're going to get better and better through the next eight of these."

According to Smith, the offense has just the right balance of freshness and familiarity.

"The verbiage is the same, and some of it's new," the 36-year-old veteran said. "If you don't listen very carefully, you can easily get tricked. So, it's good. It keeps you sharp."

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