The Ravens brain trust has spent much of the offseason, and even right up to the beginning of the season, with one goal in mind: improve the quality of weapons available to improve the passing game. To that end, the team acquired Anquan Boldin in a trade; signed Donte Stallworth to a one-year contract; drafted tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta in the draft, and in the last week, signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh. With these new acquisitions, Kelly Washington, Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams were let go by the club. These additions, along with expected improvement by Joe Flacco have fans dreaming of an offense that will no longer be the weak link on the team; at times they will be expected to pick up the defense.
Joe Flacco is expected to continue his upward trajectory toward becoming a franchise quarterback. With the skill position players he will have at his disposal, Flacco won’t have many excuses. Preseason games seemed to focus on Flacco spreading the ball around through the air; but you can bet that a dose of the running game will also factor in the offense. With one of the best young running backs in the game in Ray Rice, with two other serviceable backs in Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain, the ground attack also figures to be an integral part of the offense. With the acquisition of Marc Bulger, the Ravens have insurance in case Flacco goes down that a competent, former Pro Bowl quarterback can get the job done.
The offensive line is expected to be solid-but is not without questions. The right tackle position is a question mark-with both Jared Gaither and Oniel Cousins hurting, Tony Moll possibly could be the starter. However, Cousins has been practicing the last two days, with no effects from the concussion he suffered during preseason, and he may get the start on opening night against the Jets. Once Gaither returns, will he be the right tackle, the left tackle, or will he supply depth? Michael Oher has been moved from right tackle to left tackle this year where he is expected to become a cornerstone of the line for years to come. Matt Birk, Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda are expected to man the middle of the O-line. It will be imperative that the line give Flacco time to make completions to the complement of receivers available to him.
This offense has the potential to be the best, or one of the best in Ravens history. It is because of the perceived improvement of the offense that many pundits have made the Ravens a Super Bowl choice. It remains to be seen if the play calling by Cam Cameron and the play of Joe Flacco and the players make it so.