It's Time To Play The Blame Game With The Ravens Offense


Alright. I guess it’s time to finally address this abortion they call an offense right now in Baltimore. They’ve been nothing short of embarrassing week in and week out, falling far short of the relatively low expectations put in place going into the year. Through 7 weeks, they’re averaging a paltry 277.6 yards per game, which is poor enough to rank 31st in the league. Only this week’s opponent, the Miami Dolphins, have less yards per game, making what will surely be an eyesore of a football game on Thursday.

There’s a bevy of reasons why the offense has gone to shit. It’s not one particular thing that has caused this thing to go south. The Ravens came into the year acknowledging that the offense wasn’t going to be the team’s strong suit. Their ability to just control clock and be even mildly competent when necessary was going to be the difference between the Ravens being contenders and being right where they are now. Nothing has gone to plan. So who’s at fault? I’m glad you asked…

Injuries – 15%

This is the easiest one and seemingly a recurring theme with the Ravens, so let’s just get it out of the way first. Injuries have decimated the Ravens since before training camp even started. They lost Alex Lewis for the year before camp even started, and lost Marshal Yanda in Week 2. That’s two phenomenal guards that are key to the ground game that was supposed to define the offense. To add to a lack of depth, rookie guard/center Nico Siragusa was also lost for the year and fellow guard/center Jon Urschel retired to go solve math problems. Woof.

Joe Flacco missed all of training camp with an injured back. He probably could’ve come back and practiced a bit sooner, but they went the cautious route and held him out. That’s probably the smart move, but still sets the offense back. Presumed starting RB Kenneth Dixon was lost for the year in camp. Terrance West has missed time with a hamstring injury. Receivers Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace, and Mike Campanaro have all missed time with a variety of injuries. Tight end Crockett Gillmore tore his MCL, and Maxx Williams has missed 4 games to injury as well. Basically,  there’s just been zero continuity on the offensive side of the ball. I hate to gripe about injuries, but it’d be ignorant not to point them out as a factor in what’s happened here.

This graphic tells the whole story:


Most guys on IR the past 3 years and it really isn’t close. I don’t know how you fix this kind of problem but when does it end???

Ozzie Newsome – 35%


I know, I know. In Ozzie We Trust. Well I don’t think I’m alone when I say there are a lot of doubts these days about the Oz. Long gone are the days of Lewis and Ogden and Reed. You can only ride on that resume for so long. The last handful of drafts have been mostly disastrous, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. In fact, the offensive side of the ball has basically been ignored since that great Super Bowl season in 2012. Let’s recap the offensive players taken in the first 3 rounds since 2012:

2013: No offensive players taken in the first 3 rounds

2014: Crockett Gillmore, 3rd round (99th)… showed potential at times but NEVER healthy

2015: Breshad Perriman, 1st round (26th)… always injured, even worse when he’s actually playing

Maxx Williams, 2nd round (55th)… always injured, mediocre when healthy

2016: Ronnie Stanley, 1st round (6th)… okay Ronnie is actually a BEAST. Will be for a long time. Hard to miss picking 6th though.

2017: No offensive players taken in the first 3 rounds…. again.

That’s just astounding for one side of the ball. Gillmore, Perriman, and Williams have been in the NFL for a combined 133 weeks of Ravens games. They’ve suited up for 75 of those games. They’ve combined for 126 catches for 1,429 yards and 10 TD’s in those games. That’s less than 2 catches and 20 yards a game. That’s HORRID. And it’s not like he’s found diamonds in the rough in the back ends of those drafts either. Ricky Wagner and Alex Smith were good finds, but one is on the shelf and the other shipped off to Detroit for a well-deserved pay day.

Flacco has gotten ZERO help whatsoever, and it’s hardly been supplemented through free agency/trade the way it needs to. It was fun having Steve Smith for 3 years, but it was never a sustainable plan. Neither was signing Mike Wallace or Jeremy Maclin. Ozzie HAS to be held accountable for this blatant disregard for getting the only remotely competent QB in franchise history some help. The blood is on his hands more than anyone else here.

Wildly Incompetent Receivers – 25%

perriman stinks

I’m just gonna go ahead on double down on this. The receivers flat out stink. They have to be held accountable in their own right. They’re having a toxic effect on this offense. If they’re not getting downfield and getting open, this offense has no choice but to be wildly predictable. On top of that, there have been numerous occasions where the receivers have been open downfield and have not just dropped catchable passes, but they’ve turned them into key takeaways for the opposition. The Ravens played like dogshit against the Bears, but Flacco still made the handful of downfield throws needed to get out of that game with a win, and his receivers failed him.

Also, Mike Wallace has been a piece of work at times. It’s understandable to want the ball and encourage your coach to trust you to throw it downfield, but he’s dropped a couple of catchable balls downfield after bitching to the media. You can’t do that. You have to back it up when you ask for the football. It was nice opening the game against Oakland with that deep ball down the sideline, but that can’t just come and go. We need that every week.

And don’t get me started on Breshad Perriman. Griff Whalen joined the team 3 days ago and substantially has the same stats. There aren’t enough words for me to describe how much of a bust Perriman is.

Joe Flacco – 20%

Joe Flacco

As one of the leading Joe Flacco apologists on the internet, this is a tough spot for me. I feel for the guy so much for all the reasons I’ve listed above. But he has to shoulder some of the blame here too. It’s his job to get his guys motivated and ready to play. It’s his job to make sure the machine is well oiled and ready to go. And it’s his job to trust his guys too. He doesn’t seem to have any of those things going for him.


It is a two-way street. He’s not getting much help from his guys. But I also don’t feel like he’s meeting them halfway. Everyone here in Baltimore knows Backfoot Joe, and Backfoot Joe is the guy everyone mocks on the interwebs. When he steps up and throws with confidence, he’s a different guy. He has no confidence right now. We’ve always known that he’s not a guy who’s going to carry an offense by himself, but he’s gotta give us a little more than what we’ve gotten so far.

Marty Mornhinweg – 5%


There are plenty of guys calling for Marty’s head, but I’m not sure that’s fair. I mean look at what he’s working with. I’m not saying Marty is Picasso, but you don’t give a professional artist crayons and expect him to paint you a masterpiece. The offense is extremely limited with the resources on hand, and he’s making do with what he’s got. We’d all like to see the Ravens take some more shots downfield and I’m sure Marty would agree with you. I’m sure they’re trying to find ways to make that happen, but there’s no point in throwing deep all the time if there’s nothing there to be had. These receivers just stink so damn much. I’d like to see some more creativity like mixing in a trick play here and there, or maybe some unique run schemes, but again… he’s got crayons. Dump downs is just about all this offense is capable of with the pieces in place.

It’s just a hot mess. Tons of blame to go around, and none of these things are isolated either. Each of them are interrelated in their own way. I will say this. Relative to the low expectations going into the year, I really think the offensive line has done an admirable job. Not a great job by any means, but an admirable job given the circumstances. Ronnie Stanley has been outstanding, Ryan Jensen has been better than expected, and Austin Howard has been better than what we probably could’ve hoped for in mid-August. We never expected this offense to be perfect. We never needed them to be perfect. But goddamnit can they just be even remotely competent for more than a drive on a time on Thursday?