OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens’ offense got better last season, enough so that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was retained and given a new contract.
The Ravens climbed to 15th in total offense last season, ranking 12th in scoring.
While that represented solid progress from the previous year, it’s something the defending AFC North champions still want to build on going forward.
“We have to be a better football team,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings. “From a personnel and scheme standpoint, I’d like to be more explosive on offense.”
The Ravens averaged 338.7 yards and 23.6 points per contest last season.
They were 10th in rushing as Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice gained a career-high 1,364 yards and scored 12 rushing touchdowns.
They were 19th in passing, averaging 213.9 yards per game.
The Ravens generated 312 first downs, 98 on runs and the other 181 on passes.
“I’d like to get more first downs,” Harbaugh said. “I’d like to score more points to take a little pressure off the defense.”
One way the offense could become more prolific is through the continued development of wide receiver Torrey Smith as he enters his second NFL season.
The former second-round draft pick from the University of Maryland caught 50 passes for 841 yard and seven touchdowns last season, setting a franchise scoring record for touchdowns by a rookie.
“We want Torrey to continue to become a complete receiver and to be able to do all the little things,” Harbaugh said. “We’re totally confident Torrey will do that because how hard he works at it. Run the crossing routes, run the routes over the middle, make the contested catches inside.
“Keep doing all the stuff that he does downfield, the posts and the comebacks and all that. More screen passes to Torrey, I think, is important to us because he’s proven in the New England game more than anything we saw him catch the ball and go for a touchdown. It was really an athletic play. Things like that from Torrey will help us.”
The Ravens didn’t get much production out of their third wide receiver spot as since-released Lee Evans only caught four passes for 74 yards.
The Ravens are hoping to utilize Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams this season after quiet rookie seasons where Doss didn’t catch a pass and Williams finished with four catches for 46 yards.
“LaQuan had the shoulder issue,” Harbaugh said. “I think he kind of did a really nice job. He was a big surprise for us. He came out of nowhere, played really well on special teams and on offense. He made some really big catches early in the year.
"His shoulder started hindering him a little bit. He tried to rest it in midseason and he came back and did OK. He fought through it. Being healthy is going to help him.
Plus, he didn’t get a lot of reps in college so the offseason is really going to help him.”
Doss wasn’t completely 100 percent last season because of a sports hernia that bothered him during his senior year at Indiana prior to Baltimore selecting him in the fourth round.
“Tandon was a more polished receiver than a lot of guys but he wasn’t physically quite ready to beat somebody out,” Harbaugh said. “He wasn’t able to beat somebody out, but Tandon is going to be a really good player. I think the weight room and the offseason program is going to be huge for him. We’re counting on him to be a big factor this year.”