Vertical Threats Will Open The Offense
In 2015, Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman was the Rodney Dangerfield of NFL play callers. He simply got no respect!
When he looked at his route tree, he found three dogs using it.
Without Torrey Smith who left via free agency and Breshad Perriman who suffered through the worst knee bruise in the history of mankind, the Ravens lacked a vertical presence in their offense.
Without their gritty, veteran playmaker Steve Smith, Sr., the offense lacked an identity.
And without Justin Forsett’s ability to break off big runs (17 runs of 20+ yards in 2014) opposing defensive coordinators fearlessly attacked the line of scrimmage. They took on risk and compressed the field because the opportunity cost was chump change. They didn’t believe that the Ravens could make them pay for their riverboat gambling ways.
Speed kills in the NFL, and without it, you get killed.
In 2016 things will change for Trestman. He will be able to spread the field and threaten his Sunday afternoon chess rivals. Perriman will return and his speed commands respect. Last year during OTA’s he glided through the secondary and he’ll force opponents to adjust.
Mike Wallace provides additional verticality and is a great fit for Joe Flacco’s big arm. A healthy Smith, Sr. can work inside the numbers in one-on-one situations and his physicality will create YAC opportunities as the outside speed of Perriman, Wallace and rookie Chris Moore draw attention.
All of this provides opportunity for the Ravens promising young tight ends and savvy veteran Ben Watson to navigate inviting space in short and intermediate routes. The same is true for newcomers Keenan Reynolds as the slot receiver and RB Kenneth Dixon as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Both players pressure defenses with their top-end change of direction skills and nose for the end zone. They combined for 176 touchdowns at the collegiate level.
Defenses will no longer squat on Trestman’s offense and that opens up the running game, which in turn sets up play action and takes pressure off the offensive line.
The possibilities are multiple.
Somewhere, Joe Flacco is smiling.
And as for Marc Trestman, the Dangerfield days are over.