Offense Won't Change To Offset Defense


The Ravens defense is ranked 26th in the NFL and is now without leading linebacker Ray Lewis and top cornerback Lardarius Webb.

But the offense isn't going to change its strategy in an effort to offset the defensive struggles.

"We already knew before the season started that we wanted to be a great offense," tight end Ed Dickson said. "It didn't matter what the defense did. We wanted to come out of their shadow and become a great offense."

Quarterback Joe Flacco hardly blinked when asked for his take on the injuries to Lewis and Webb. He feels for them, like any teammate would, but said "you try not to pay attention."

"You try to go out there and go about your job and let those guys on the defense take care of their jobs," Flacco said.

"We're going to continue what we've been doing. I think we've been playing pretty efficiently. I think when you try to do too much, that's when you get in trouble."

Pundits have pointed to Flacco as keeping the Ravens' Super Bowl hopes alive, saying the offense will need to make up for the ailing defense.

The offensive players said they haven't paid any attention to that, and aren't putting more pressure on themselves.

"I ate pressure for breakfast today – with a side of bacon," center Matt Birk joked. "We're just going to keep working hard and try to get as good as we can. There's no secret thing we're going to do now."

One way the offense could potentially help the defense would be to possess the ball for longer. That would take possessions away from the opponent and give the defense a longer breather.

Dallas had the ball for 40 minutes, three seconds last week. Baltimore had it for 19:57. For the year, Baltimore has averaged 26:50 while opponents have had the ball for 33:10.

The Ravens offense can balance that number by picking up more first downs or by running the ball more. But the latter would require a tactical change Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron does not subscribe to unless it fits what's best for that week's game plan.

"You always want to sustain drives, but we've always felt – and I think our philosophy here – that points trump all that," Cameron said. "We're all big boys here. We all have a job that we have to get done.

"When you've got a back like Ray Rice and quarterback like Joe Flacco, you can't take the air out of the ball and all of a sudden slow it down and grind it out. Because we all know that in most cases that backfires and doesn't work. You want to get in a rhythm. If you score fast, you score fast."

The Ravens have done well scoring points. They are averaging 26.8 per game, ninth-most in the league. Cameron doesn't want to deviate from what's working to try to balance time of possession.

"If it were easy to get first downs and were easy to sustain drives and eat up the clock, everybody in this league would be doing it – and nobody's doing it," Cameron said. "It's too hard. It's too hard against good teams to think that you're going to possess the ball, grind it out and play the clock possession game. And it's really just not our style."

The Ravens offense and defense work in conjunction to win games. But times are changing in Baltimore and around the league in how that's done.

No longer is it about running the ball and relying on defense. Sometimes it's about needing to simply outscore the opponent.

"I think the way the NFL has been evolving over the last few years, offenses are so potent and it's a challenge for any defense," tight end Dennis Pitta said. "In order to keep up with the times, we have to put together a high-powered offense and be able to score with any of those offenses out there."

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