To know where you’re going, you first need to understand where you have been.
Listening to many fans, you get the sense that that nothing short of another dose of the “magic beans” that QB Joe Flacco seemingly took before last season’s playoff performance will be good enough. However, the fact is that the majority of pieces most responsible for the team’s strong offensive performance at the end of last season remain in place.
When Jim Caldwell took over as offensive coordinator he modernized the offense on the fly. He also added some versatility and most importantly empowered the leader of the offense, Flacco. Couple that with the insertion of Bryant Mckinnie at LT and Kelechi Osemele at LG to stabilize the offensive line and give Flacco a pocket to climb, and suddenly the purple O was clicking on all cylinders. These same things are the foundation of this year’s offense and the reason why concerns of demise or fears of a scaled back offense are grossly exaggerated.
The Ravens have made a couple late veteran adds that will help. Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley are the exact type of players the Ravens needed. They catch everything and find soft spots in defenses. Their experience with Caldwell allows the Ravens to continue to play with pace. It also keeps the team from having to miscast some of the holdovers. Ed Dickson can remain the in-line seam stretcher that best suits his talents while Clark will be the chain-mover from the TE spot.
With Stokley in the fold, Jacoby Jones can continue to primarily be a deep threat and clear out guy with occasional touches in space to take advantage of his speed. Neither Clark nor Stokley will be relied on too heavily, nor should they be. They are role players at this stage of their careers, but they’re proven and both were productive in these same roles just last season.
With a perennial Pro Bowl running back in Ray Rice and upper echelon backup Bernard Pierce, the Ravens are still going to run the ball often, but don’t expect any drastic change in thinking just because Dennis Pitta went down.
Instead, expect a career season from Joe Flacco powered by the core foundation established by Jim Caldwell last season.