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Offensive Strategies for the Ravens Against Steelers

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In the upcoming game, the Baltimore Ravens will have some options on offense because of the upgrades at wide receiver and tight end.  Here are a few things to look for when you’re watching the game on Sunday.

OFFENSIVE STRATEGY

In previous match-ups:
The Ravens utilized ‘max protection’ packages at the line to slow down the Steelers pass rush.  On passing plays, tight end Todd Heap lined up next to the tackle and the running back or fullback would also stay in to block.  However, this did not pay off well because the Steelers easily covered the Ravens receivers.

What to look for in this game:
Now that the Ravens have Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, it may give the offense more options.  For one, the offense can stay with ‘max protection’ because Boldin and Houshmanzadeh do a better job at getting separation from coverage. In fact, Boldin might draw double coverage, which would leave Derrick Mason, Houshmandzadeh or Heap in one-on-one coverage; and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron likes to create mismatches.

Secondly, Cameron may spread out the receivers to attack the Steelers defense, simply with an empty backfield or having the tight end in the slot position.  Of course in the spread formation there will be more pressure on the left tackle, Michael Oher, and right tackle, Marshall Yanda, to stop the pass rush. Again, with Boldin in the picture, it may apply more pressure on the Steelers in coverage. This could place the other offensive play-makers in some favorable match-ups.

TE Luxury

This year, the Ravens have the luxury of three tight ends: Todd Heap along with the rookies, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson. Cam Cameron might also use a two (or three) tight end set.  For instance, keeping Todd Heap in to block or chip block the Steelers outside linebacker and sending out one of the other tight ends out as a receiver might be an effective option. The offense already deployed this option a few times this year with some moderate success.