Although we came up short of our Super Bowl hopes this year, it’s certainly not the end of Baltimore Ravens football. Despite just missing out on being a part of the biggest game of the year, there are a lot of positives to be taken away from this season.
Many of the Ravens’ younger and rookie players were forced into starting roles and performed admirably despite practically losing an entire off-season’s worth of training due to the lockout. The Ravens’ roster also saw a multitude of veteran turnover from last season, most notably the departure of long-time Ravens Derrick Mason and Todd Heap. At first, many questioned the front office’s decision to release some of QB Joe Flacco’s "security blankets", but as the season progressed it became clearer that the front office and coaches were making a conscious effort to get younger and faster.
Today I thought it would be a good idea to steer clear of the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s and take a look at some of the superb talent we have stocked up on this team on offense. I’ll also make a few "predictions" for some of our offensive skill players next year for a bit of extra fun.
- Torrey Smith: The star wide out from the University of Maryland was a dream pick for many fans in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The local kid with a compelling story quickly came under criticism early on in the Pre-Season. Many experts and fans questioned his hands and route-running ability after having some dropped passes and looking a bit out of sync with the rest of the offense for a time. Despite his early struggles, Torrey Smith kept plugging away and when he got his chance to show himself off, people couldn’t eat their words fast enough. After his break out game in St. Louis, it was clear that the Ravens got the WR they had always dreamed of, a WR that would take the top off of a defense and force the opposition to respect the long ball whenever Smith touched the field.
2011 Regular Season Stats: 50 rec. 841 yards. 7 TDs
2012 "Projected" Regular Season Stats: 62 rec. 970 yards. 9 TDs
- Tandon Doss: Although Tandon Doss is more famous in Baltimore for breaking up fights in local fast food restaurants than he is for his play on the field, it shouldn’t be over looked that the rookie WR the Ravens picked in the 4th round of the 2011 NFL draft out of Indiana University was hand picked by QB Joe Flacco. Doss was praised coming out of college for his hands and route running ability with a label for catching any ball in his zip code, as seen here. To me, it sounds like Doss would be an ideal situational WR for the Ravens that could excel in the red zone and at converting third downs. I hope he gets a chance to prove his worth next year and I’ll go out on a limb and make my "projections".
2012 "Projected" Regular Season Stats: 20 rec. 175 yards. 1 TD
- Dennis Pitta: Lately, some have been wondering if Pitta is going to "leapfrog" the more athletic TE, Ed Dickson, for generally being a bit more sure handed and seemingly becoming a more popular target for QB Joe Flacco. Pitta may not have great speed or vertical threat ability, but he does posses great hands, good size, body control and awareness. He is also a receiver who could prove to become a reliable and dangerous red zone target. Look for Dennis Pitta to become one of Flacco’s ‘go to guys’ next year.
2011 Regular Season Stats: 40 rec. 405 yards. 3 TDs
2012 "Projected" Regular Season Stats: 55 rec. 520 yards. 6 TDs
- Ed Dickson: Although Ed Dickson has had some trouble with dropped passes, it’s certainly too early to give up on him. He’s extremely athletic, quick, and has the ability to absolutely truck defenders as seen in the Ravens’ game against the New Orleans Saints last year. With Dickson’s size and speed, he should be able to create huge match up problems for defenses if used properly. Hopefully, we see him used more to stretch the field as well as going over the middle to make those tough catches.
2011 Regular Season Stats: 54 rec. 528 yards. 5 TDs
2012 "Projected" Regular Season Stats: 60 rec. 615 yards 5 TDs
The Ravens' offense is in a great position to move forward and produce huge results, combining a fantastic combination of veteran leadership and young talent. This franchise is primed to set off offensive fireworks with a bit more fine tuning and hopefully soon this offense will be as ‘lights out' as the Defense. Speaking of defense, I'll be posting Part 2 of this article soon which features Ravens young ‘up and comers' on that side of the ball.