With Time To Plan Over Bye, Marty Mornhinweg's Offense Attacks Season's Second Half


While the players had a few extra days of rest over the bye, Ravens Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and other coaches were still clocking in at the Under Armour Performance Center.

It's obvious that the key to the Ravens turning around their four-game losing streak is to get the offense clicking. If Baltimore can't do that, it's going to be difficult or even impossible to reach the playoffs.

And that starts with Mornhinweg, the man calling the plays. 

The bye afforded Mornhinweg his first chance to take a deep dive into diagnosing the Ravens' offensive issues after he had to hit the ground running when promoted on Oct. 10.

"I think [the extra time for Mornhinweg is] really important, really, no matter what, especially with the fact that we need to get our offense going," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday.

"These two practices [before the bye] were very valuable that way, especially so because of Marty's situation. He gets a chance to really continue to rep and establish the things that he wants to do going forward."

Mornhinweg showed some tweaks to the play-calling in his first two games on the job. The Ravens took more deep shots down the field and, at least in his first game against the New York Giants, stuck with the run game more consistently.

The offense was better against the Giants, but still struggled to find the end zone. It fell flat versus the New York Jets. The offense has posted just two touchdowns in two games under Mornhinweg.

Mornhinweg said there were "several things" the Ravens offense focused on during the bye week, including during two practices Tuesday and Wednesday in which quarterback Joe Flacco and the passing offense put in some extra work after other players left.

The first, and most important, thing Mornhinweg pointed to was working on timing and precision.

"Our precision and timing is going to be a key moving forward here," he said. "I say that [because] just during the game, we were unable to capitalize on some easy ones. We left too much out there. We have to get the easy ones."

The Ravens rank 24th in the league in total offense, averaging 332.4 yards per game. Still, they are averaging more yards per game than the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings – three teams at or near the top of their divisions. All three teams, however, are significantly ahead in points scored.

Baltimore would like more yards, but really needs more points – plain and simple.

"When you are an offense in this league and things are not going great, a lot of the times you can be so close," Flacco said. "I think we are on that verge of being really close. But it is a bunch of little things, and it is not just one thing; it is things that add up."

Flacco pointed to mistakes completing short-yardage passes, penalties, protection, the run game and his own quarterback play as examples. They're not all constant problems, but they've all occasionally halted drives.

"When that happens throughout the course of the game and you have a good amount of those, it leads to what we have been dealing with, which is not putting any points on the board and not giving ourselves really any opportunities to put any points on the board," Flacco said.

"It is very little things that can be cleaned up pretty quickly. But at the same time, when you have that many things going on, you have to be really focused for a full 60 minutes and every single play."

Baltimore's offensive players have had some time away to clear their minds. Now it's on to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have one of the league's best offenses – especially if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is under center. The Ravens know they'll have to score more points to compete.

"I am excited about getting better, and typically, if you have that mentality to get better every day, good things tend to happen," Mornhinweg said. "So, that is our mentality."

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