Addition by subtraction could end up being the formula for the Ravens to make them one of the NFL’s premier offenses in 2015.
This offseason, the organization saw the losses of wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Owen Daniels in free agency. They also lost offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak who opted to take the Broncos’ vacated heading coaching position over a return to Baltimore.
The method of general manager Ozzie Newsome’s madness was on full display during free agency as the Ravens remained steadfast on the offensive side of the football, letting other teams overpay for players who may or may not make their teams better. Ozzie Newsome and company have a history of not diving head first into the free agency pool and it has paid off.
Instead, the Ravens opted to use the first two picks of the 2015 draft on offensive players. Not only did those picks fill positions of need, they also filled positions that are heavily relied upon in Marc Trestman’s offensive scheme.
The selections of wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tight end Maxx Williams will furnish the spots of Torrey Smith and Owen Daniels sooner rather than later. At least that’s what the front office is counting on as it surrounds Joe Flacco with more weapons for 2015 and beyond.
While all eyes have been focused on the added weapons at the receiver and tight end position, it’s the running game that has the most unanswered questions.
The hiring of Marc Trestman had some fans wondering whether or not the run game will take a step back in 2015. Trestman has historically led pass-heavy offenses, but head coach John Harbaugh didn’t hesitate to calm those fears. Earlier this offseason, Harbaugh stated that Trestman understands what the Ravens are trying to do and that the changes to the offense will be minimal.
The team re-signed Justin Forsett who had a stellar year under Gary Kubiak in 2014 producing a career-high 1,266 rushing yards (NFL’s fifth most) and led the league in runs of 20-plus yards (a team-record 17). Forsett’s franchise-record 5.4 ypc average was first among NFL RBs.
Forsett also squashed any concerns about the Ravens revamping their run game after practice on Wednesday.
“No, not at all,” remarked Forsett when asked whether the running game would look different in 2015. “It’s basically the same stuff, same terminology in the run game, so [it is a] smooth transition.”
What will increase is Forsett’s targets out of the backfield as a receiver as the new OC relies heavily on pass catching backs.
“I’m excited about that – being used more, going out wide or catching passes out of the backfield,” stated Forsett. “With coach Trestman coming in, a lot of his backs have had a lot of passes.”
“Even in OTAs, I’ve been catching a lot of balls, so I make sure I am sharp on my routes and ready to be used that way as well.”
Forsett will remain on the practice field throughout the club’s voluntary OTA’s to prepare for his increased role.
“[It is] not a focal point. When we first brought [Trestman] in and he was here, I looked at his track record,” responded Forsett. “Most recently, [Matt] Forte caught like 100-and-something passes last year, I think, so that kind of let me know that I could be getting a lot more passes than I did last year.”
“I caught around, I think, 40 [passes] last year, so I am just being ready for that and prepared for that.”
Could 2015 be the year that the Ravens offense explodes? Time will surely tell but the team certainly has the offensive weapons in place for a breakout year.
Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR