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Will Ravens Be A Better Road Team?


What's the No. 1 problem offenses face when playing on the road (other than the opponent)?


Teams that can manage that noise have a better shot at scoring points. And this year, the Ravens feel that they'll do a better job of that this season as they prepare for their first road trip of the season to Cleveland.

After going 2-6 on the road last year, the Ravens have a more simplified offense that requires less communication in a raucous environment and focuses on executing the fundamentals and not making mistakes.

That's the recipe for offensive road success.

Flacco was asked whether new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak's system translates better on the road than last year's, when he was often in the shotgun and yelling changes at the line of scrimmage in a loud stadium.

"I think so," Flacco said. "[Kubiak] has a certain philosophy on the road, and he's going to make sure that we go out there and do it that way. We're going to go out there, and we're going to be able to play well."

So what is Kubiak's philosophy?

Tight end Owen Daniels, who has played under Kubiak his entire career in Houston and now Baltimore, said there usually isn't as much moving around before the snap. They line up and take the crowd noise out of the equation as much as possible.

"The number one thing you have to do is have poise," Kubiak said. "If you can't handle noise and you're jumping offsides and you're having penalties and you don't protect the ball, it's very, very difficult in this league. So, that'll be a big point of emphasis this week, and hopefully we can handle our end of the bargain there. We have to play clean."

Playing clean is something the Ravens did not do a good job of on the road last season.

They averaged two turnovers per game over the eight-game road schedule. In Week 4 in Buffalo, Flacco threw five interceptions. That Bills defense was coordinated by new Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine.

Pettine said his game plan from last year is "not applicable" to this season, but he still could use some of his same disguises.

In addition to on-field problems the Ravens will face, they're also expecting an especially hostile crowd in Cleveland. It's always unfriendly, considering the team's relocating history.

Tight end Dennis Pitta said he expects an even tougher environment on the road this season because of Ray Rice's off-field troubles, even though Rice isn't with the team any longer.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

"We always anticipate it being hostile," Pitta said. "And with everything that's gone around in this organization and in the NFL, we expect that to be ramped up a little bit. So, it won't come as a surprise if it is."

If the Ravens are going to get back to the playoffs, they have to win away from Baltimore. The conventional wisdom is win at home and split on the road.

The Ravens dropped one game at M&T Bank Stadium already this season. They may have to make up ground away from their comforts of home.

"Getting a win up there [in Cleveland] would be huge for our team and it would give us some confidence going into the season," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said.

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