One Read, Check Down
We’ve listened to many reasons why Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense has struggled over the years. You know them by heart, yet they bear repeating.
First there’s the revolving door at offensive coordinator. Then there are the intermittent issues with the offensive line. And let’s not forget Ozzie Newsome’s inability to draft or recruit a true No. 1 wide receiver or Flacco’s knee and/or back injuries.
But let’s face it, the Ravens have never been an offensive juggernaut since the turn of the millennium. And for the last decade, the two common denominators of the Ravens offense are named Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh.
Harbaugh regularly defends Flacco.
Flacco regularly says things like, “We need to go after it [more]” when describing the Ravens offense. Yet they don’t. And you have to wonder why.
Recently retired Ravens tight end and now a team broadcaster, Dennis Pitta, had some things to say about the inefficiencies of the Ravens offense when he joined Brent Hollander on WBAL Radio on Wednesday November 8.
“You can point to a lot of factors as to why [the Ravens] offense has struggled, but one of [them] comes down to the philosophy. I’m completely against the fact that you should go in thinking we should play conservative football and play to our strengths which is our defense. I think you have to go in with the mindset that ‘we’re going to put up as many points as we possibly can’ and create big plays, and that’s how you have to approach it.
“So, hopefully they can be more aggressive offensively moving forward and take some shots downfield. But right now, Joe has one read and he’s got to check it down if it’s not there and that’s really the offense that they have set up for him. It’s difficult to play quarterback under those circumstances.”
THAT is alarming!
Why pay a player to be a franchise quarterback and then dumb down the offense to do what he was likely taught to do as a rookie?
Flacco isn’t without fault but Pitta’s is a player perspective – a former teammate who just happens to be a very close friend of Joe’s.
As mentioned, Harbaugh often defends Flacco even when failing.
But if what Pitta says is true (and there’s little reason to doubt him), let’s give Flacco some credit too for not throwing the entire coaching staff under the bus.
Or is it possible that Harbaugh dumbs down the offense for a reason?
Any way you look at it, it’s a dysfunctional offense that demands significant changes.
Unless of course the Ravens are comfortably mediocre.
NOTE: Listen to the entire interview with Dennis Pitta on WBAL Radio’s website. It really gets interesting at the 4:30 mark.