The Ravens' first-team offense may have the most to prove in Thursday night's third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
The unit is expected to see its most extensive action of the preseason, and after two somewhat flat games, it's hoping to find a rhythm.
"We want to see our effectiveness and our execution climb up a notch or two," Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell said.
In his first full offseason as the Ravens' offensive play caller
and chief schemer, Caldwell has seen his unit get off to a bit of a rocky start.
The starting offense is working with some new targets at wide receiver and tight end, but Caldwell didn't use that as an excuse for notching just seven points (on a 77-yard touchdown run and catch by Torrey Smith) and six first downs in three quarters of work.
The offense particularly struggled in the first half of last week's game against Atlanta.
"We didn't play well, because we were inconsistent," Caldwell said. "We just were up and down, and more often than not, when you look at things, it oftentimes is what you do to yourself."
The Ravens offense has been plagued by penalties. A 10-yard illegal block penalty stalled one* *of its two drives in the first preseason game in Tampa Bay. A 15-yard penalty on center A.Q. Shipley on the offense's very first play from scrimmage against Atlanta doomed that drive. A false start by Shipley two drives later exacerbated poor starting field position.
Baltimore's offense has also had too many negative plays. There was a sack for a loss of 10 yards on an unchecked blitz up the middle in Tampa Bay. Running back Ray Rice was stuffed twice for a combined 9-yard loss by Atlanta.
"We'd have a good play, and then we'd have a poor play. So, we can't put all that together," Caldwell said. "I think our guys have been working hard to do so, both in the run game and the passing game. We have to get real precise, and I think that's forthcoming."
Thursday's third preseason game may be the final opportunity for the offense to get on the same page before the regular-season opener in Denver on Sept. 5. Flacco hasn't played in the fourth preseason game since his rookie year in 2008.
"I think it's very important just for us to play well, more so than anything else," Caldwell said. "Any unit that takes the field, we want them to go out there and be in sync, move the ball and put some points on the board. We're looking forward to that."