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Ravens Offense Looking For More Chunk Plays


Without a speed threat outside, due to the knee injury to first-round wide receiver Breshad Perriman, Baltimore has had to march the long way, with lots of small gains, instead of getting deep strikes that pick up chunks of yards.

Removing the one play, 1-yard touchdown in Arizona on Monday night, which was set up by a blocked punt, the Ravens have had an average of nine plays per scoring drive over their past three losses.

In essence, it's taking too long to get down the field. And by chipping away, it creates a lot of third downs that require perfect execution or it results in a punt.

"There is very little room for error," quarterback Joe Flacco said Wednesday.

"Because we're scoring the long way right now, that makes it even more difficult and puts more pressure on you to be on top of every single play. Every single play has huge weight in our game right now, and yes, that definitely makes it a little bit tougher."

Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman is on the same page.

"Offensively, the game is really about taking care of the football and how many explosive plays you have during the course of the game," he said.

"The games that we've had good success yardage-wise and scoring-wise, those explosive plays show up. So, it's evident to all of us that when we don't get that, we don't get the production, because we're not in the red zone as much as we need to be."

Enter wide receiver Chris Givens, the Ravens' only true speed threat on the outside.

The Ravens traded a future draft pick to St. Louis for Givens on Oct. 3, just less than a month ago. But in his three games, his snaps have decreased in each game. His first week against Cleveland, when Steve Smith Sr. was out with a back injury, he had 27 snaps. His second week in San Francisco, he got 12. Last week at Arizona, he had 10.

Givens had a chance for a touchdown in the second quarter as he got a few steps behind the Cardinals defense, but Flacco's throw was a bit short and safety Tyrann Mathieu was able to recover. Givens had an end-around run four plays later, but Mathieu sniffed it out for a 6-yard loss.

Givens wasn't targeted again until the Ravens' final drive. Facing a second-and-10, Givens streaked down the right sideline and hauled in a 31-yard pass against zone coverage. He easily beat his cornerback off the line of scrimmage and hauled in the pass before the safety could close over the top.

Givens said he feels a lot more comfortable now than he did when he first arrived in Baltimore.

"I'm not thinking nowhere near as much as I was," Givens said, giving a lot of credit to Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram.

"We just go through all the little things. Today we were fixing things with my stance and my releases and when I should do this or that. A lot of stuff I just had no idea about; I was just out there running fast. Once I got with somebody who has played the game and understands technique and had great technique, it's a whole new aspect."

Givens said he begs Engram for more snaps every day. But he said he had no indication that it would result in what he wants this week against San Diego.

The Ravens haven't gotten much production from their other receivers outside of Smith. Kamar Aiken has 19 catches on 37 targets for 271 yards and two touchdowns. Marlon Brown has 13 grabs on 28 targets for 106 yards.

"I just have to be patient and understand that these things take time," Givens said.

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