Ravens offense in search of an identity

Joe Flacco has thrown the ball more this year but hasn't been as effective as the team would've liked by this point of the season. - Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco's on pace to throw over 4,000 yards but hasn't looked like the player the team can turn to when things have gone awry.

The Ravens can only think back to Joe Flacco's Super Bowl run so often.

With the new season seven games in, the offense has looked nothing like the one Flacco helped lead to a championship. The running game has been stagnant, which has forced Joe Flacco to air the ball out more than the team would want to.

Though Flacco is on pace for a career-best 4,382 yards, he's completing 59.5 percent of his passes, slightly below the 60 percent threshold he'd probably like to be at. Flacco completed over 60 percent of his passes during his first three years but has yet to since.

The thing about the passing game is that big plays have been tough to come by. Whenever it's been able to make something work downfield, it's usually been later in games with the Ravens trailing. The unit has been unable to start fast all season.

So even with Flacco looking like he's going to finally become a 4,000-yard passer, it may not be indicative of the offense's identity trending his direction. He's seen plenty of struggles of his own like the rest of the offense. In years past, Ray Rice was looked at as being the offense's identity. With Rice rushing for 2.8 yards per carry in 2013, the offense needs to figure something out and go with it before it's too late.

"It's one of those things where we know how we want to play — we do know that," offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell told reporters Tuesday. "We're a physical team, and it doesn't matter if we line up in three wide receivers, two wide receivers or whatever it might be. We want to be able to run the football, and that's important to us. That part of it, I don't think there's any question. Now, do we develop it and get it where it's precise and functioning like it's supposed to? That's what we'll try to do this week is look at some of the things that have been giving it some problems and really try to work on those things as well."


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