The Ravens offense had a forgettable debut Sunday in Denver.
The group never found the end zone, committed two turnovers, struggled to find room in the running game, couldn't protect quarterback Joe Flacco and didn't produce a play longer than 22 yards. Offensive struggles cost the Ravens in their 19-13 loss to the Broncos, and getting the group on track is a top priority going into a Week 2 matchup with Oakland.
"I'm very confident we can [get going] because of the temperament we have, the talent we have and the coaches we have," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's what you do. You go to work."
The struggles were across the board for the offense, which finished the day with 173 yards from scrimmage, the team's lowest total since 2011.
A big part of the problem for the group was the inability to push the ball downfield in the passing game. Veteran receiver Steve Smith Sr. had a tough matchup against Aqib Talib, one of the best cornerbacks in the game, and he finished with just two catches. Fellow starting receiver Kamar Aiken had one catch for -1 yards.
The lack of a downfield passing threat was evident as rookie receiver Breshad Perriman continues to miss time with a knee injury. Without Perriman's speed, Flacco primarily tried to work the short and intermediate routes. The only time he connected on a play down the field was a back-shoulder throw to receiver Marlon Brown on the sidelines.
"In this past game, we didn't really ever attempt to do it, and we've talked about that," Flacco said. "We need to take our shots, if nothing else at least to let teams know that we're going to do it, and have the confidence ourselves to do that."
Regardless of when Perriman gets back on the field, the Ravens know they have to find ways to stretch the field with their current passing game. Flacco was asked if he has the necessary personnel to do so.
"Yeah, no doubt about it," He said. "It's not about running by guys in terms of getting intermediate passes and downfield passes. It's about exploiting weaknesses in defenses."
Smith has the ability to be the team's big- play threat, and Brown can also use his size advantage to create mismatches in the secondary. The team's young tight ends Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams also have potential to exploit teams for big gains over the middle.
Getting improved play from the offensive line is also imperative so Flacco has time to get settled in the pocket to find targets down the field.
"You're not a finished product ever – in life or football – but we have a lot of work to do based on the way we played on Sunday," Harbaugh said. "But there are a lot of things that tell me we have what it takes."
The offensive line was expected to be a strength of the team coming into the season, and the Ravens will look for them to play much better in future weeks.
"I'm confident in building on the reps that we had and the talent that we have and the character that we have," Harbaugh said. "We'll be a very good offense this year."