Time For Ravens Offense To Be More Aggressive
When it comes to throwing arms, quarterback Joe Flacco's is the Ferrari of the NFL.
Yet that Ferrari was barely let out of the garage in Denver.
Flacco attempted just one pass beyond 20 yards, a completion to receiver Marlon Brown for a 22-yard gain. Six others were attempted between 10-19 yards and 16 were attempted between 0-9, according to Pro Football Focus.
"That's like taking a Ferrari on the freeway and doing 55," wrote CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown.
Even though the pass protection was poor and speedster Breshad Perriman was absent, Brown said the Ravens shouldn't concede they don't have a deep passing game.
"Deep passes need to be part of their game plan. Not just Sunday against the Raiders, but from this point forward," Brown said.
"It's time for a more aggressive game plan from new Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman. The Ravens are still looking for their first offensive touchdown of the season. They are ranked 32nd offensively in the league through Week 1, dead last."
Brown's sentiments have been echoed all week long by Ravens coaches and players. Each one took accountability for having just 100 passing yards, the fewest in the NFL.
"I can understand the frustration. Even some of the offensive players ourselves, we're leading the protests of having a better offense," Steve Smith Sr. told The Baltimore Sun. "I got my pitchfork, too, saying that we need to be better. I understand that. We're right there side by side with the fans. We understand their frustration."
Flacco told reporters at podium Wednesday that the first thing the offense needs to do is to take some shots downfield, even if they aren't successful in converting them because, "if nothing else, at least let teams know that we're going to do that and have the confidence in ourselves."
When Trestman was asked about how nice it's been to be back in California, where he enjoyed success as an assistant for the San Francisco 49ers and Raiders, he joked that he hasn't had time to soak in the memories.
"I've been locked up in a hotel trying to find ways to throw the ball down the field more," he retorted.
Even without Perriman's speed, Trestman and the rest of the Ravens know there are ways to stretch the field with their current personnel. He talked about calling more deep crossing routes and back-shoulder throws. With 6-foot-6 Darren Waller and 6-foot-5 Brown, Flacco can throw deep jump balls and let his tall receivers go up and fight for it.
The Ravens can also try to take advantage of a banged-up Raiders secondary that allowed Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton 269 passing yards last week, even when the unit was healthy.
"If the Ravens play as poorly offensively in Week 2 as they did in Week 1, they are capable of losing Sunday at Oakland," Brown wrote. "That would make the Ravens 0-2 for first time under John Harbaugh. And that would make this opening road trip West a colossal failure, especially when you consider that linebacker Terrell Suggs (Achilles injury) has already been lost for the season."
The Pick Is In: Ravens vs. Raiders
Maybe Brown is right. Maybe the Ravens are capable of losing in Oakland.
It's just that only one analyst of the 55 below believe that will actually happen.
The Baltimore Sun: 7 of 7 panelists pick Ravens
"Amid the disappointment of the Broncos' loss and Terrell Suggs' injury, the Ravens gained some confidence last week. The defense will put together another solid effort and the offense will do just enough." -- Jeff Zrebiec
ESPN: 12 of 13 panelists pick Ravens
"I like Baltimore. This is a game that I really see that offensive line of the Ravens starting to dominate. I think Forsett is going to have a big game. Ravens will win this one easily." -- Tedy Bruschi
CBS Sports: 6 of 6 panelists pick Ravens
"The Ravens are playing consecutive road games, which is a challenge, both being a long way from home. But the Raiders were terrible in losing to the Bengals, and should be without Derek Carr. That's trouble. The Ravens get back on track after losing to the Broncos." -- Pete Prisco
Fox Sports: 7 of 7 panelists pick Ravens
"How can the Ravens overcome the loss of Terrell Suggs? It's hard. The heart and soul of a defense that no longer has Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata or Ed Reed, Suggs is the team's most valuable player outside of Joe Flacco. Good teams rally back from bad losses (both on the field and with injuries). The Ravens are a good team." -- Peter Schrager
Bleacher Report: 8 of 8 panelists pick Ravens
"Unfortunately, with Carr iffy for the game and the Oakland secondary already ravaged by injuries, all that's likely to be coming is the next beating." -- Gary Davenport
SB Nation: 7 of 7 panelists pick *Ravens *
NFL.com: 5 of 5 panelists pick Ravens
"Everyone who has Justin Forsett on their fantasy team is panicking right about now. Don't. He'll be fine, as will the Ravens." -- Elliot Harrison
ProFootballTalk.com: 2 of 2 panelists pick Ravens
"The Ravens may not be as good as we thought they'd be. The Raiders definitely aren't." -- Mike Florio
Suggs To Have Surgery Friday
It looks like Suggs will have surgery on his torn Achilles tendon today.
We hope Suggs has a safe and successful surgery, and wish him a healthy recovery. The question on everyone's minds is whether he will be rehabbing for a return next season or hanging up his football cleats.
"Due to have a cap number of $7.45 million with a $4.5 million salary and $2.95 million in previously-paid bonuses, the Ravens may decide that's too much for a soon-to-be-33-year-old linebacker with a pair of surgically-repaired Achilles tendons," wrote Florio. "He's got $6.85 million in dead money, however, and any decision to move on from Suggs would result in that cash being accounted for under the cap.
"The better approach would be to assess whether his pay reflects his value, and to adjust the contract accordingly. If no one else would pay him on the open market what the Ravens would pay him on a reduced deal, Suggs may be willing to move some money around."
Flacco Makes GOP Debate … Again
Last time PFTCommenter stood outside the Republican Presidential Debate, he held a sign up that read is "Joe Flacco a elite QB?"
This time, he somehow got a little more access and was able to ask one of the actual presidential candidates about the Ravens quarterback's elite status. The satirical sportswriter went backstage to ask Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, and here is his response:
Smith One Of Three Oldest Returners In NFL History
Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg made it clear the Ravens will move forward with 36-year-old Smith as their punt returner.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley did some digging and found that Smith is one of the three oldest returners in league history.
"According to ESPN Stats & Information, there have been only two players 36 or older who have returned more than 16 punts in a season: Mel Gray in 1997 and Michael Lewis in 2007," wrote Hensley. "Smith was a Pro Bowl returner in his rookie season, in 2001, but he hadn't returned a punt for four years before doing so in the season opener."