Marc Trestman Says Passing Reputation Overblown


New Ravens Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman comes with an old reputation that he's in love with throwing the ball.

It came up again last season when struggling Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, under Trestman's command as Chicago's head coach, threw more passes than Joe Flacco did during a career-high year. Bears running back Matt Forte caught 102 passes, the fourth-most receptions in the NFL.

Trestman's reputation goes deeper, but it's that recent memory that has Ravens fans wondering whether Trestman will continue a heavy aerial attack in Baltimore.

Well, Trestman thinks the perception is wrong. And by the sounds of it, fans can rest easy.

The Ravens are going to be running the ball a lot in 2015.

"I think really that's kind of an overblown perception," Trestman said. "Statistically it shows that, but when you have the players to do the things you do best, you do them."

The Ravens continued the 2015 training camp with practice at the Under Armour Performance Center.

Trestman said he's had some "very good running backs" during his coaching history, but they weren't the type of runners that Forsett is, and he didn't have the offensive line the Ravens have.

For example, Trestman said he wasn't going to pound 5-foot-10, 190-pound Charlie Garner into the offensive line during his three years in Oakland (2001-2003). Still, Garner had some very productive seasons, including when he ran for 962 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 91 passes for 941 yards and four scores in 2002.

Trestman also indicated that last year's Bears offensive line wasn't made for a ground-and-pound attack, and Forte is the kind of back that excels at catching the ball.

"Giving the ball to Matt Forte in space isn't a bad way to go," Trestman said. "You try to utilize your personnel to achieve the things you need to achieve."

Baltimore's offensive line may be the best unit on the entire team with all five starters returning, including perhaps the best guard tandem in the league of Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele.

The Ravens also have a strong trio of running backs, starting with Pro Bowler Justin Forsett, who led NFL tailbacks in average yards per carry and runs of 20 yards or more last season.

Baltimore was one of the league's better rushing teams in 2014, ranking  sixth (tied) in average yards per attempt (4.5) and eighth in rushes (2,019).

It was a major turnaround from the year before when the Ravens ranked last in the league in yards per attempt (3.1) and 18th in attempts (423). It was the first time  during the Head Coach John Harbaugh era that the Ravens didn't rank in the top half of the league in rushing yards per game. It was also the only year they didn't make the playoffs.

"There's no doubt the strength of this football team, or one of them offensively, is the offensive line and a back that runs the ball," Trestman said.

"It starts with the running game. Ravens football starts with the running game. That doesn't mean you're not going to throw the ball, but the emphasis here is we want to be a great running football team. We have the players to do that, so that's where we start."

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