Ravens Roost

May 27, 2010 4:55 PM

The Ravens offense can go many different ways

For years the Ravens were a run dominated team, throwing the ball only whenjoe-flacco.jpg necessary. After Vinnie Testeverde left the team never found an above average quarterback who could throw the ball with accuracy. Kyle Boller may have been the best of the lot but he never had the pass protection he needed and subsequently had his brains bashed in until you saw those deer in the headlight looks when the pocket started to collapse.

Now the team has it's franchise quarterback, though he's still learning, and the historically weak position of wide receiver has now been fortified with honest to goodness high caliber players. Why did it take so long? Perhaps we should be happy that it did finally happen and we're here to see it.

So now, just what will Cam Cameron do with all the parts the team has acquired. What style of offense will be associated with the purple birds of Baltimore?  This is where it gets interesting.       
 The other teams in the AFC North are going to have to change their game plan when they face the Ravens this season. No longer will it be Ray Rice up the middle, look for Derrick Mason in the flat, then dump it off to Rice on the outside. Now the Bengals, Steelers, and Browns will have to be aware of Anquan Boldin cutting across the middle, Donte' Stallworth streaking down the sideline, and perhaps two tight ends crossing in the seam. Or maybe Joe Flacco dumps it off to Rice on a delay as the defense drops back to cover down field. The possibilities are nearly endless. Cameron may decide to soften up the defense with the run and then call the long ball when they stack the box. 

No longer will teams be able to double team Mason, not when Boldin and Stallworth, or Heap, or Dickson are on the field. Most teams are going to want to double up on Boldin but won't be able to without leaving somebody wide open and undefended. Mason in the slot with one on one coverage from a linebacker is a mismatch for any defense and it will most likely be seen many times this year. Look for D-Mase to be seen smiling quite a bit this season.

With the decision to keep Willis McGahee the Ravens have two number 1 quality runningbacks. Add to that LeRon McLain's campaign to get more carries and the Ravens can play smash mouth  with anybody. Cameron will most likely change the game plan from week to week based on the defensive strengths of the opponent going from heavy pass to heavy run to find the weaknesses in the defense. He may change up quarter to quarter, or from the first half to the second. The offense may play one style for several games then change up completely for the next several games. One thing is for certain, opposing defensive coordinators are going to be losing a lot of sleep when the Ravens are up on their schedule.

This looks to be the strongest offense the Ravens may have ever fielded, that is if the injury bug doesn't hit. But with all weapons they have the offense can lose a player or two and still be highly productive. Teams like to refer to that as having "deep depth" and the Ravens have much more then most.

As much as I love the Summer this year I can't wait for Fall to get here. I really believe this team can be something special and their chance of going all the way is as good as anyone's. The Ravens have never had this much balance between offense and defense and it should pay huge dividends.  

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