Reporting Rob Long
It all started during the 2000 season. The Baltimore Ravens were having trouble scoring touchdowns but they had one of the greatest defenses in recent history. They were led by a young stud of a linebacker and a host of gladiators who were capable of winning games on defense.
Brian Billick, who was brought in to be a offensive guru, gave in and became a “defensive team.” The defense carried this team all the way to a Super Bowl win with a quarterback who was put out of an organization because they didn’t think they could win with him. Trent Dilfer led the Ravens to Tampa Bay as a game manager. That became the blueprint for the franchise.
Fast forward over a decade and the organization is suffering from the success that the defensive mindset of old brought. In today’s National Football League, you have to score and score from any place, and in various fashions. Meanwhile, the Ravens seem to have been in an identity crisis.
Now, fans are begging for this team to resemble the teams that are winning championships. While wanting to resemble those teams, there’s still a desire to play that “smash mouth” style that won for this team. That’s the identity crisis.
For years, when things have gone wrong on offense, everyone has blamed the offensive coordinator. The problem with that is, the offensive coordinators have changed, but the complaints have not. All of the offensive coordinators have been elsewhere and have been successful, but their offenses look anemic here in Baltimore.
To continue to examine the “play callers” is an error. You have to examine the game plan. The game plan last year resembles the one we saw five years ago, and eight years ago, and 10 years ago. When the Ravens won that way, it seems that they tried to duplicate it. Maybe they stuck with that plan too long. Maybe that plan cost them titles. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers have changed their offensive identity.
In order for the Ravens to clash with the play-off elite, they must become one of the offensive elite. They seem to have the personnel, but do they have the plan? Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans, Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss could provide that. Ray Rice is a proven weapon and now Vonta Leach could provide more big play opportunities for number 27. Should be a fun season with many questions to answer on the offense.
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