We are now at the quarter pole of the NFL season and the three and one Baltimore Ravens have answered many of the questions they faced in the off season. The passing game has come along nicely and quarterback Joe Flacco his the leading passer in the AFC. Most of our offensive weapons have been able to contribute on some level or another from Deonte Thompson returning kick-offs and Jacoby Jones proving his worth on offense to the usual suspects like Ray Rice and And Anquan Bioldin doing their thing year in and out. The two biggest surprises with the offense have been the emergence of Joe Flacco and his chemistry with second year receiver Torrey Smith who is playing like a true number one receiver and at a Pro Bowl level.
Yes everyone on the offense seems to be clicking, the biggest problem so far has been the offensive line. Although they have been dominant at times, opening up huge holes for Ray Rice and giving Flacco time to throw occasionally, there are far too many untimely penalties and straight missed assignments becoming free rushers at the passer.
Ramone Harewood a converted tackle is starting at the left guard position and has missed some important assignments in his short time as a starter but hopefully we can contribute that to growing pains and maybe he is the man for the job. He has been no Ben Grubbs in my opinion though... Michael Oher has shown up on the penalty sheet too many times in the first four games again and has missed some key blocks in challenging red zone action.
The biggest problem on the line at this point from what I have seen may be ageing center Matt Birk however. I hate to say it because I love the player and he is probably the glue that is keeping this young line together but he is beaten badly when asked to block one on one far to often. This usually results in a busted play or flat out sack of Joe Flacco.
With the over all scheme of our new offense seeming to gel together quite nicely might it be time to bring in the trusty old veterans in Bryant McKinnie and Bobby Williams. I understand the Ravens desire to keep younger quicker lineman in the game to keep up with the teams new up-tempo, no huddle offense but is the athletic durability and difference in speed from play to play worth what they are lacking in pass protection?
I could be wrong and maybe this young line will come together just at the right time. After all Flacco is leading the league in passing behind the current group and there is ne clear replacement ready for Birk at center that we can see. I'm sure the Ravens made whatever decisions they had to make because of what they thought would work best in the offense they are running but the line has to be he weakest part of this offensive unit and it may be time to fix it before it bites them in the butt at the wrong time.
I doubt you will get the best effort out of McKinnie or Williams only playing them in jumbo packages on the goal line when the younger players would be so hungry to get on the field in those situations they would give you all they have, making our short yardage, power running game more pop.
Over all I truly do like the direction the team is moving in and hope everything works out the way it is currently put together but I think at this point the question needs to be asked at least...