One of the most intriguing storylines of the Ravens 2012 season has centered around the offense. But then again isn’t it always.
Seemingly over the past few seasons we would hear that this is the year that the offense and it’s captain Joe Flacco are ready to spread their collective wings and soar among the NFL’s elite groups.
However the results are usually consistently inconsistent. Two weeks ago Baltimore rolled to a 55 point victory over the Raiders while last week in Pittsburgh that same offense couldn’t find the endzone and could only generate two field goals. It all leaves fans asking why? Why does a group that boasts five Pro Bowlers and has added speedy play-makers over the years have such difficulty scoring at times?
It’s a question that’s bothered me too. There always seems to be some kind of excuse of explanation. The pass protection falters, receivers can’t get separation, Ray Rice doesn’t get his touches, Cam calls too many pass plays, Cam calls too many running plays, or Flacco gets rattled and isn’t as accurate as he could be. So what needs to change?
So, let’s pause and round up the usual suspects and take a closer look.
Joe Flacco. If any player represent this bi-polar offense best it’s the man under center. Flacco averages throwing 322.4 yards per game at M & T Bank while in five road games he averages only 176.6 throwing more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3). It’s interesting to note how body language tells the story when it comes to Joe. Last week he looked rattled early and many of his passes sailed high while at home he looks in charge more and ready to attack. There’s no question that as he goes so goes the Baltimore offense.
Cam Cameron. He’s been the usual answer to the question of why the Ravens can’t seem to build a consistent offense. At times Cam has put together some very solid games over the years but most times his calls seem out of place and there appears to be little halftime adjustments made in the game plan. Of course for all our complaints the team continues to win and I don’t seem much changing until they start.
John Harbaugh. He has escaped criticism over the years mostly because he feels detached from his offense. He’s claimed over the years that he leaves most of it Cameron but I n’t wonder if that isn’t just more disguised coach speak. Maybe Harbaugh wants it that way. It was clear to me that the plan in Pittsburgh was to make their offense score. How else could you explain taking a sack on 3rd and 2 when a First Down would have sealed the game in Pittsburgh? You play not to lose instead of the attack mode that we are more used to seeing at home.
Why? Is it simple philosophy? Does it have to do with some perceived flaw in Flacco’s game? Doesn’t this attitude from the coaching staff about their quarterback ultimately stunt his growth as a player?
I realize that my attempt at answers has only yielded more questions. But for now let’s hope that the Ravens can find some offensive balance this afternoon and gain another crucial win on the road as the playoff push heads into December.