BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Wide receiver Jerome Simpson #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals is tackled mid-air by corner back Cary Williams #29 of the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens won, 31-24. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
As you watch the Ravens assemble their team over the past few seasons you can see that they are well aware of what the NFL is becoming, an offensive based passing league. It is no surprise that the league is trending in this direction considering that is what most fans love to see.
Most fans that come out to the stadiums on Sundays are not hoping to see a 6-3 defensive struggle in which both teams attempt to run the ball, unsuccessfully for 60 minutes. Although that may be the true essence of the game and these games can create just as many highlights as a 54-45 shootout with eye popping offensive statistics. The NFL is the most popular sport in the country and it continues to grow in popularity every season. The constant tinkering year in and out shows that they still have some work to do to get the league where they want it to be however. They couldn't just change all the rules to favor the offense all at once though. It has to be a gradual thing so they don't turn into the arena league over night.
Whatever the case, the Baltimore Ravens have noticed and are adjusting their team accordingly on both sides of the ball. On offense the team has finally gotten a good one two punch in the receiver category with Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith and with a full stable of young receivers competing for the third position the team is looking more than ready to start throwing the ball all over the field.
The Ravens are also set with two very good pass catching tight ends in Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson. Neither of which has reached their true potential yet. There is still an ongoing battle between the two as to who will be the every day starter. In the beginning it was Dickson that had the edge with his slightly better speed and athleticism but as of late it seems that Pitta may be knocking on the door to be the starter. Quarterback Joe Flacco showed a clear favoritism towards Pitta whenever he was on the field at the end of last season. Add in a great pass catcher out of the back field in running back Ray Rice and you have quite a potent passing attack set up for this season.
On defense the Ravens are gearing more towards their secondary and pass rush in the past few drafts. They continue to load up on highly athletic and versatile corners each year. They were ranked fourth against the pass last season and are set up to be even better this year.
Another area the Ravens have favored in the draft is pass rusher. Adding OLB Sergio Kindle and OLB Courtney Upshaw with their first overall picks in two of the last three years shows how highly the Ravens hold their pass rushing stature. Baltimore has always been stout against the run but they are beginning to put more effort into getting to the quarterback and covering the receivers down field of late, as they should. It's great to know that our Ravens saw this coming because it looks as if they have started to prepare for this for a while now. I can't wait to see how it all comes together on the field in 2012.