As the Ravens have spent the last few weeks dissecting what went wrong with their offense last season, a common theme is that they need to fix the run game.
Baltimore had one of the worst rushing attacks in the league, and Owner Steve Bisciotti stressed during Tuesday's season-review press conference that the Ravens need to build a more effective rushing offense next season.
"We're all in agreement that you need a more balanced offense," Bisciotti said. "I think that our success still goes back to good defense and balance, and that means a strong running game."
The Ravens were skewed towards the passing game this year, and threw the ball more than any other team in the league (679 attempts). Some of the passing numbers were the result of situational football when the Ravens fell behind in games, but both offensive coordinators, Marc Trestman and Marty Mornhinweg, strayed from the run at times even when the unit was finding success.
Running backs Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon both came on strong and showed good burst at the end of the season, but the Ravens still finished the season with a franchise-low 367 rushing attempts.
"I was really disappointed in the lack of a run game, the lack of a commitment to a running game. But sometimes when you're in the heat of things, there weren't a lot of times that I was screaming at the TV or at the games saying, 'Run it, run it, run it.' It doesn't necessarily dawn on me," Bisciotti said.
"I think that the end result and the disparity speaks for itself, and I don't think that we're going to be successful putting the ball in the air 600-some times. It's just not our identity, and I don't know how we got that far away from it."
Head Coach John Harbaugh opted to retain Mornhinweg as his offensive coordinator next season, and he's stressed that the veteran NFL coach is committed to the run game. Harbaugh and Mornhinweg also said multiple times throughout the season that the Ravens need to be more effective and committed to the ground game.
"We have to run the ball a lot better," Harbaugh said. "We have to run it more, better."
Bisciotti's description of the team's identity is a bit of a throwback to what the old-[hyphen]school Ravens teams used to look like. Baltimore initially found its success as a team that won with a dominating defense and an offense that took time off the clock and didn't make mistakes.
The scales have tipped the other way in recent years, in large part to putting more on quarterback Joe Flacco's shoulders, but Bisciotti still sees defense and a balanced offense as what he wants from his teams.
"I want to run the ball. I want to control the clock. I want to play good defense," he said.
"Balance – I certainly want it. And I certainly don't have anybody up here telling me that I'm wrong. How we got away from it, that's something that will probably get behind us pretty quickly because, really, it is what it is. And I think it's bad and I think we'll change it."