Was Ravens’ offensive talent overestimated?

ed dickson

You know, before the season started, there were many pundits who said the excuses for Joe Flacco will stop, given what he has around him. Some mentioned Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson as well rounded threats from the tight end position. I don’t know if those pundits were trying to stir the pot and put possible blame on Joe Flacco as well as more pressure on him because of their own agenda, but I want to know what they were talking about in the offseason.

Flacco has his own issues he needs to work out we get that. But since when did these armchair General Managers know offensive talent? Outside of Ray Rice, nobody else on this side of the ball is a legit threat. Sure, Anquan Boldin is a former pro bowler and Torrey Smith is a very good deep threat. But nobody would claim those players to be in the top 10-15 WR corps in the NFL.

Many players on this team have issues with press coverage. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is – the same problem exists. That is a coaching problem, a player problem and a scheme problem. Trips/Bunch formations wouldn’t hurt. A quick slant wouldn’t hurt either.

When you look at the issues the Ravens have had offensively, as a fan you begin to understand that football is not that complicated. Not that I know more than the coaches, but when you see basic things that other teams do to get their players open, you begin to wonder what the philosophy and the game plan is week to week.

Dickson looks to have offered nothing for much of his career as a Raven. He either drops passes over the middle or is not available due to injury. If there is not a drastic change from the tight end position and the end of the season, a possible 1st round draft pick next April on a TE is in play.

With the TE position in mind, one would have to think if this group were more productive as a unit, how opposing defenses would have to react and change their game plans. Perhaps dropping more linebackers into coverage? That in turn, can help stop the pass rush and cure the road woes the Ravens have had offensively.

The offensive line that has been known to be dominant in the past is no longer that. Ray Rice seems to make the line look better than they are. A player his size that can’t find consistent holes is a problem and one that must be solved immediately. Matt Birk, a former pro bowl center, has not gotten the push over the last two years that he used to. Michael Oher is a solid starting left  tackle that is good enough to play with in the future but is much more suited to the right side.

Even with the offensive line, it is an OK unit to win super bowl with. So what about Joe Flacco? Everything that Flacco seemed to gain the AFC Championship game last year has been on hold at the moment. He scrambled in that game. He ran for first downs. He seemed to utilize his whole talent.  Why did it stop?

This is a good team and a good capable offense. But in the end, everyone has to know this offense is nothing more than a solid-to very good group of players with Rice being the only elite figure. While pundits say there are no excuses for Flacco, they still exist.

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