The Baltimore Ravens struggled to put up points in their playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills, and while the team got hot down the stretch, there was still concerning elements of the offense most of the year.
Baltimore wasn’t consistent at all on the offensive side and looked like a different team than the one that dominated the league most of the 2019 regular season. Was that a product of teams figuring out the Ravens’ plan, or some of the changes the team had up front and elsewhere?
Both are possible answers, meaning the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. The bottom line, though, is the Ravens did not get the job done and score nearly enough points in order to be successful and win a big game. In the mind of some, the focus should turn to the plan and what the team is doing in order to try and sustain success on the field.
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.
“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.
Greg Roman’s Offense Catching Heat
The players typically get the heat when the offense goes bad, but in this case, Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman could shoulder some of the blame according to Lombardi. As he said, the pattern is there in terms of a Roman offense struggling to adapt after experiencing some early success on the field.
“We know this, Roman when he was in San Francisco had the great year with (Colin) Kaepernick and it went downhill. Is this the trend we’re seeing? Because the offense wasn’t the same.”
What Lombardi says is true. In Kaepernick’s best three years with the 49ers, he put up 50 touchdowns to 21 interceptions but the downturn was sharp come 2015. The implication here is that Roman’s offenses might get figured out and struggle adapting.
Only time will tell if this is the case, or the Ravens can once again put things back together in the future.
Ravens Offense Struggled During 2020 Season
If there was one thing the Ravens were missing, it was the ability to have explosive plays in the passing game most of the season. Many will cast the blame toward Lamar Jackson, but the team struggled to get anything going consistently at the wideout spot, which cost them the ability to do damage much of the year. This season, the Ravens only collected a paltry 27 passing touchdowns, 26 of which were credited to Jackson. The team’s biggest strength remains their ground game, but it’s clear given the damage they can do there, the Ravens should be able to pass the ball much better than they have recently.
Perhaps it’s due to the factors that involve the offense and the game plan from the coaching staff.