Plenty of Blame to Go Around on Offense

Street Talk Plenty of Blame to Go Around on Offense

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Perception is Reality

REALITY: Baltimore’s special teams have always been pretty special.

Perception: I was actually kind of surprised by that one stat. Do you remember Jermaine Lewis? Man, he was a stud. Jacoby Jones? He was really good too. Devin Hester? Oh, well, that doesn’t count.

Can you guess who has the most yards as a kick returner for the Ravens? Hint: He was in Baltimore from 2004-2007. Give up? B.J. Sams. He returned kicks for a total of 3161 yards, most in Ravens history. He is also second on the Ravens in punt return yardage. I bet you can guess who has more… Jermaine Lewis. The Ravens have had some pretty good ones in Lewis, Sams, Jones, Corey Harris, Yamon Figures, and Lamont Brightful.

Jones is the only one to have more than 1 kick return for a TD, as he had 4. Lewis had 6 as a punt returner, and of course the famous one in the 2001 Super Bowl against the New York Giants as a kick returner.

Bobby Rainey isn’t ready to be named as a great one just yet, but Sunday was a pretty good start.

Special Teams also includes field goals and punters, and Baltimore has had some really special one in the department too. Sam Koch has been one of the best punters in all of football for years. Matt Stover should be a Hall of Fame kicker, and Justin Tucker is the second most accurate kicker in NFL history.

While the Ravens defense has been pretty great over the years, so has their special teams.

REALITY: No matter the year, the Ravens have pretty much been the same style team since the start.

Perception: Yes, the Ravens D is letting up big plays when it seems to hurt the most, but I’m not blaming them. They have been crushed by injuries and they are doing all they can to hold on, but the offense is letting them down. You can’t go three-and-out, punt it away and expect your defense to make a stop every time.

Baltimore is ranked 2nd in the NFL in takeaways, with 14. But their offense is 3rd in the NFL in giveaways with 12. That is ridiculous! The D is doing all that they can to help the offense. They get a stop or a turnover, and the offense doesn’t move the ball at all.

Is this defense all we thought it would be at the start of the season? No. But they aren’t as bad as some of the stats show either. Brandon Williams is missed upfront, but I can’t leave this on the defense.

The D is ranked 18th in the league in total yards given-up, and 15th in points allowed. But the offense is 29th in the league in yards per game. The D is giving it all they can, and the offense is just not helping at all. And if you want to be more specific, the passing game isn’t helping at all.

The Ravens are 7th in the NFL in in total rushing yards, and in rushing yards per game with 129.5. So, they are making great progress in the ground game, but they are 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game with 159. Yes, the Ravens are running for nearly as much per game as there are throwing it. It all comes back to the passing game.

REALITY: Joe Flacco has thrown for 4 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and just 5.4 yards per attempt.

Perception: He has been bad, but he has had ZERO HELP.

Still, I’ve got to question if Flacco is truly healthy. He doesn’t look comfortable at all. But then again, outside of the Super Bowl season, has he ever?

We can bash Joe for a lot of things (and may people do), but Sunday, was not really on him.

Two of his interceptions on Sunday were thrown right into the hands of the receivers, but they couldn’t hold on and it bounced into the hands of the defenders. Flacco has absolutely NO help. His receivers are just awful… awful!

Danny Woodhead played in less than one quarter this season and still has more receiving yards than Breshad Perriman or Maxx Williams. Now, the Ravens haven’t been throwing downfield much, but Jeremy Maclin hasn’t been what we hoped. Mike Wallace is only good when you go deep. Perriman… BUST! Chris Moore has 3 receptions for 44 yards, but he is one who dropped a crucial pass at his chest on Sunday.

It’s time for the players to earn their kept, but it’s also time for Ozzie Newsome to take some heat for failing to help out an offense that has struggled for years.

While the Ravens continue to stock up on the defensive side of the ball, the offense continues to struggle mightily. Each year, Ozzie has been able to find a veteran wide-out to help this team… Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans, Steve Smith Sr., and now Maclin… but it’s simply not enough. They need help on the offensive line. They need help in the slot. They need help in WR2 and WR3. You can’t rely on the one veteran WR1 to carry this team… they don’t have Boldin or Senior anymore.

Still, though Flacco needs help….he needs to help himself as well.

Umm… what was that? He is at least two yards beyond the line of scrimmage. He was all over the place. It was just ugly, and everyone saw it.

It’s hard to believe, but the offensive line has been surprisingly good. They are opening holes for the running game, and they have been giving Joe time to look for a receiver. Either Joe is missing them, or they simple are not getting open. It could go both ways, but as the veteran signal caller on the team, and as the highest paid on the team, he needs to be better.

Delay of Game penalties are not okay… especially when they come after an incomplete pass. You have plenty of time. Get it together and let’s go. And why are we still not putting any effort in a 2-minute drill? There is no hurry-up. There is no urgency. It’s like we are winning… but we aren’t!

We need to move quickly. But Flacco doesn’t.

REALITY: The Ravens lead the all-time series against the Minnesota Vikings, 3-2.

Perception: Do you remember the last time these two teams played? 2013 in the snow in Baltimore. In the 4th Quarter with 2:06 left, the Ravens were down 12-7. They scored to go up 15-12. Then Toby Gerhart ran 41 yards for a TD with 1:27 left. On the following kickoff, Jacoby Jones goes 77 yards for the TD. The Ravens then led 22-19 with about a minute left. The Vikings come right back, on a 3rd and 10, Cordarrelle Patterson runs 79 yards for a TD and Minnesota takes the lead 26-22 with 45 seconds left. But it’s not over yet!

Flacco passes to Marlon Brown for a touchdown with 4 seconds left and the Ravens win 29-26.

It was a classic… but I’m not expecting the same this weekend.

Case Keenum is the Vikings quarterback right now and the team has been playing well under him. The Vikings are 5th in the NFL in offensive yards. The Ravens are going to have to find a way to stop the Vikings, and I’m not sure that happens.

Defensively, the Vikings are 10th in the NFL in yards allowed, and 6th in rushing yards allowed. So that says the Ravens will not be able to rely solely on the rushing game. They will need to find a way to pass the ball. I don’t see it.

I don’t like this match-up at all, especially on the road.

Ravens lose 24-13.

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Joe Polek

About Joe Polek

Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. He lives in Maine from 2001-2012, where he met his wife and had two daughters. He now resides in Columbia, SC where he has left TV/Radio and is the South Carolina Marketing Coordinator for Bojangles' Restaurants. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens and Orioles game once a year. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak). Find Joe on Twitter at @JoePolek. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens game once a year, and while living in Maine, went to Foxboro and Fenway whenever the Ravens or Orioles came to town. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak). Find Joe on Twitter at @JoePolek. More from Joe Polek

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