The Baltimore Ravens have been pondering their future for the last few days, and a big talking point is what’s happened to the team’s offense.
This offseason, the Ravens know they need improvements and reinforcements, and one of the biggest spots they could have a need is at wideout. A game-breaking, big-bodied player would seem to be on the list for the team, but at this point, it’s up in the air whether or not the Ravens will even be able to get their hands on such a guy when all is said and done.
The reason? There could be a lack of trust in the Ravens’ offense around the league. Former NFL wideout Brandon Marshall explained on First Things First that Baltimore has an issue on offense that could be easily fixed if not for the coordinator and his approach. As a result, he doesn’t think free agent wideouts will be lining up to play for the Ravens next year.
Do the Ravens need to add a big name WR in free agency to take Lamar to the next level?
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) January 26, 2021
“A wide receiver is not going to come there. As a wide receiver, we get paid to catch the ball. So are you going to pay a top wide receiver $20 million to block on first, second and third down? There is a philosophical issue in that organization when it comes to offense. They need to figure out how to develop that passing game. Greg Roman has to develop this passing game. If the offense is going to look the same way, no wide receiver is going to go there.”
Overall, Marshall’s point is that the amount of one-on-one coverage the Ravens could draw for a wideout would be huge given the success of their running game, so it needs to be more of a priority for the team to throw the ball given these matchup advantages. It rarely happens, though, which could point to the fact that the Ravens are too rigid in their thinking for Marshall, which he believes could end up impacting the type of free agents they could eventually lure.
That would be a tough break for the Ravens, but it’s clearly possible.
Former NFL Executive Wants Ravens Offense Changed
After the loss, former NFL executive Michael Lombardi went on VSIN and explained why he thinks the Ravens have done a poor job building and sustaining their offense. As he said, it needs to be more running and less shotgun based in order to give Lamar Jackson the best chance at victory.
“…They need to utilize his ability to get to the edge and throw the ball down the field and make plays.”
@mlombardinfl weighs in on the #RavensFlock passing struggles as they finished last in passing yards this season. @MitchMossRadio and @paulyhoward only on #FollowTheMoney pic.twitter.com/iA5IxM3lFo
— VSiN (@VSiNLive) January 18, 2021
“Baltimore has to say to themselves, either we’re going to get a quarterback who can throw it or we’re going to finally develop an offense around this quarterback they have. He has to run Baker Mayfield’s offense. What you saw with Baker Mayfield, he cannot carry a team. He threw the ball 37 times, that’s too many times for him to throw the ball. He didn’t make enough big plays down the field. They averaged five yards per-carry the Browns, and only ran in 22 times. That’s why they lose. They have to run the ball 35 times not 22. Because you got to take Mayfield out of all those shotgun plays, because he can’t see and he panics. It’s the same thing with Lamar. He’s in shotgun way too much, he needs to be under center and they need to use his ability to get to the edge and throw the ball down the field and make plays I think they’ve done a bad job of building the team around the skillset of the quarterback as opposed to thinking the skillset of the quarterback is going to make everybody better. I think they have some tough questions to answer.”
The Ravens will have a choice to make as it relates to the offense. Either they double-down on the plan and try to find fixes, or they decide to reboot entirely. There’s been no sign of a change happening, so it’s more than likely the team will have to look for new weapons and try and to re-shape things next season on the field.
John Harbaugh Wants Wideouts for Ravens
Even though Marshall isn’t sure wideouts should want to play in Baltimore, that might not stop the team from taking swings at them. Specifically, John Harbaugh didn’t mince words when it comes to what he is looking for this offseason. Amongst other potential targets for the team? A big playmaking wideout for the team’s needy offense. When speaking to the media this week, Harbaugh clarified that offensive upgrades could be on the menu, specifically ones at the offensive skill spots of wideout and perhaps even tight end.
"We can use anyone who is talented and good." pic.twitter.com/GvSmvAjxv2
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 20, 2021
“It kind of comes down to who you can get and what they’re going to cost in the end and who wants to be here. But if you can bring an Anquan Boldin in here? Lets do it. Now can we afford it and what are the resources from other things we need? That’s the details we have to figure out. I think a big, physical receiver would be awesome for us and big target for Lamar. It could be another tight end too or a speed guy who could open things up and open the coverage up would be valuable too. We could use anybody who’s talented and good.”
An upgrade to the offense would be huge for the Ravens, and that’s especially true considering how the team struggled downfield. Getting another big time wideout in the mix to take pressure off who the Ravens already have would be a big help overall to the offense.
Will one join the team or not, though? It will be interesting to see given Marshall’s words.