Offensive Turnovers Prove Costly Too Costly
The Baltimore Ravens dropped a heart-breaker in Pittsburgh last Saturday, with the final score being 31-24, Steelers. You know the story: the team squandered a halftime lead and handed a gift to the Steelers in three turnovers. Like so many other close games this year, the Ravens fought back, but this time they came up short.
Was the defense perfect? No, but Ray Lewis had the unit playing at a high level and they were playing well for the last half of the season. The bottom line is that against quality teams, ball security on offense is crucial— especial in the playoffs. Adding in the fact that key playmakers just didn’t have a great game, it was too much to overcome. Consistency has been an issue for the offense this past season.
As pointed out by the NationalFootballPost.com:
“The Ravens finished the regular season ranked 22nd in total offense, averaging 322.9 yards per contest. They were 14th in rushing, averaging 114.4 yards per contest. They were 20th in passing offense, passing for 208.4 yards per game, and were 16th in scoring offense with a 22.3 average.“
Evaluate and Move Forward
This was not an easy loss for the organization or fans to cope with. There should be frustration and disappointment; and yes, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron needs to be evaluated. Currently, reports are saying that Cameron will retain his position with the team. However, you know Team Owner Steve Biscotti and GM Ozzie Newsome will be assessing Cam Cameron on his offensive production. Obviously the results of this offense were well below expectations, so changes are needed moving forward.
There might be multiple reasons as to why the offensive never showed consistency, such could be the struggles with the offensive line, the push to put the entire offense on Joe Flacco, and whether or not the players bought into Cam Cameron’s play-calling. All these are valid points, and perhaps all might be part of the equation, but in order to move forward the organization must take a hard look at what needs to be done to improve and what strategies the offense should adopt. That’s what good organizations do: they make truthful evaluations and move forward— correct their weaknesses and improve.
Getting Back On Track: Back to the Run
One strategy would be getting back to the run and designing the offense to be a more physically dominating unit. Short yardage and goal-line situations were a major problem for the offense. The lack of commitment to the run didn’t start this year, it started last year. This year, it only continued and Ray Rice wasn’t featured until halfway through the season. Sure, Rice got attempts early on, but it was merely to set up the pass.
With a talented back like Ray Rice, there is no reason why the Ravens shouldn’t be one of the top rushing offenses— and that should be a goal heading into next season.
As the team moves forward, there will be plenty of wondering and waiting to see who will be resigned and who will slip to free agency. The one thing that should remain constant is the commitment of the Ravens to re-focus their efforts on a stronger, more dominant running game.