The 3-4 Baltimore Ravens are in some trouble at the moment. They can’t seem to put it all together and get back to their winning ways of a year ago. After losing to the previously winless Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens have seemingly hit an all time low on the season. Although they’re not out of the playoff race by any means, there just isn’t an optimistic feel when looking at this team.
One of the biggest criticisms I have had thus far with the Ravens is the inability for Joe Flacco to live up to his third highest quarterback salary in 2013. With a rating of 78.9, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions, Flacco has not been even close to the status of elite that his paycheck might suggest.
While Flacco has to be better, he has not gotten the production out of his Pro Bowl running back that the Ravens have needed. Ray Rice is arguably a top-5, maybe even top-3 back in this league, but has not played nearly as well as he is capable of so far. Rice has rushed for 242 yards on 86 carries, giving him an average of 2.8 yards per carry on the year.
One of the most frustrating stats for the running back is that his long on the year is just 14 yards. Rice has also lost two fumbles this season.
In a disappointing season early on, Rice and Flacco both must be better. Flacco isn’t the type of quarterback that can be trusted to throw the ball 34-40 times per game as he has been trusted to do on a few occasions this year. Rice needs to give him the type of consistency from the back field that he’s used to in order for the passing game to take it up a notch.
Flacco is not the quarterback that can create offense on his own — although he seems to be able to do that come playoff time. Rice has to make some plays, whether or not the offensive line is consistent. Getting Rice involved in the passing game must be a priority as well, as he only has 24 catches on the year.
The Ravens are in trouble on both sides of the ball, but offensively they need to be more sound and that lies on the shoulders of these two guys. Starting with Rice, the offense has to pick it up — period.