Improving Offensive Line Is A Big Priority For 2014 Baltimore Ravens

By Kyle Mountain
Evan Habeeb - USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb – USA TODAY Sports

It’s evident that some changes are being made this year on the offensive side of the ball for the Baltimore Ravens. A new identity is forming for an offense that had its struggles last year, and it seems as though the Ravens are poised to head into the season with a better-rounded and more versatile offense. Such an offense, of course, begins in the trenches.

A big question heading into this season has been the Ravens’ offensive line. Last year, Joe Flacco was sacked a career-high 48 times — only three teams in the NFL gave up more sacks than that. Additionally, Baltimore’s rush offense was nearly non-existent as they ranked 30th in the league in running the ball last season. It would be foolish to imply that such meager numbers are the fault of the offensive line alone, however, that area has been a major priority for offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak this offseason.

Head coach John Harbaugh announced Monday that Rick Wagner, a second year player out of Wisconsin, has won the job as starting right tackle. A vacancy was created this offseason with the departure of Michael Oher, and those within Baltimore’s organization believe that Wagner is up to the task of anchoring this hopefully improving offensive line.

Additionally, change has already become evident through training camp and two preseason games. The Ravens currently have a league-high 388 rushing yards through two games, and though preseason may not be a completely convincing indicator of regular season success, it does shed some light upon the changes the Ravens are trying to make heading into the season. Kubiak’s offensive system will thrive on a ground-and-pound style of play, which will make the offense more threatening and harder to deal with for opposing defenses.

Another positive at this point in the preseason is that the offensive line is healthy and performing, so if they’re able to carry that into the season, they may be able to cultivate some success early on in terms of their offensive productivity. Again, it’s difficult to judge in the preseason, however, the Ravens have seemed to embrace a run-style mentality, which hopefully means they’ll have another important piece of their offense that was missing last year.

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