The Baltimore Ravens are 2-0 in the preseason currently, and this is not because of the starters. A combination of Tyrod Taylor and the backup defense and special teams should be credited for the two preseason victories. Should Ravens Nation be worried? I think not.
One word could be used to describe the problem with the first-team offense: preseason.
It’s only preseason, folks. Fans are constantly jawing on social networks, saying “Baltimore is having passing game issues”, “the Ravens’ starters on offense look like (expletive)”, among other things. I am here to tell you that everything is going to be alright.
In the preseason, teams like to “slow-play” the rest of the league by putting in “vanilla” packages that are very basic, so the best plays aren’t studied and scrutinized by opponents. If you don’t believe me, watch both preseason games. The first-team offense for the Ravens went deep once in both games. You mean to tell me that the Ravens paid Joe Flacco $120.6 million and they are not going to use his arm? I don’t think so.
John Harbaugh expects whatever packages that he and Jim Caldwell send the offense out there in should be executed with perfection, no matter how basic it is. The problem with this is that you cannot expect NFL defenses to respect the deep game when the Ravens are not using it. With all of the screens, slants and hitch-routes the Ravens ran, defenses would stack the box and run a cover-two defense.
This killed any short passing game or run that the Ravens’ basic packages presented. Instead of countering by going over top to Torrey Smith or Jacoby Jones, they decided to go with screen passes or flats passes that were easily snuffed out.
I honestly think Harbaugh found an old Brian Billick playbook laying around and said “Hey, we’ll dust this off and use it in the preseason”. Think back to last preseason when the Ravens came out with similar boring packages against the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions. The results were very similar: the Ravens were decimated. However, once the 2012 season began, the first play of the game was a 52-yard bomb to Smith.
Be patient, Ravens Nation — there is a method to Harbaugh’s madness. The world is looking at the Ravens as a team that is hurting because of the loss of so many starters; Harbaugh invites the media to publish this type of panic so that nobody but the Ravens will see what is coming next.
There will be plenty of big-play calls and deep thrown balls when the Ravens’ season begins. Stick around, faithful fans, you’ll be glad you did.