Close your eyes and think of three things you know to be true about the Baltimore Ravens. Here are three conclusions I deem true. One: When Gary Kubiak joined the Ravens late January 2014 to resurrect his career, the transformational coach also knew that his time in Baltimore could be brief if he turned the offense around.
Two: Both head coaches were assigned offensive coordinator duties under John Harbaugh after suffering disastrous seasons with their respective teams. Kubs' was axed early December after the team dropped their 11th consecutive game in 2013. The 5-11 Bears went into hibernation mode, also clocking out of their 2014 season early (December's a terrible month), capping off their campaign on an unimpressive five-game losing streak.
Now, with a roster as talented and stout the Ravens have, the sky-high expectations for Trestman are stark.
Great. Which pages out of Kubiak's offensive playbook will Trestman photocopy and add to his? Will Trestman renovate, or build on the model Kubiak and Caldwell drew up for Flacco to follow? Each one of the coordinators possess unique traits and proven teaching methods. Flacco was 14 yards shy of throwing for 4,000 last season under Kubiak. In 2002, Trestman's mentorship guided Rich Gannon -- the quarterback threw for a record-setting 4,689 yards and was named the league's Most Valuable Player.
More questions rise to ruin my appetite for pizza. Kubiak's efficient zone-blocking scheme set franchise records in points and yards per game last season. Museum gift shops, dining halls, street corners, coffee houses -- wherever I go -- all I hear is how Trestman isn't going to change much. Really?
I still struggle to buy into that empty promise. Hurry up and show me the ring, Mr. Trestman. Then I find myself seconding Chris Canty's motion (there really is no point in fixing something if it's not broken). Hope you kept the receipt. Perhaps Owing Mills is a pit stop, a halfway house, for transitioning offensive coordinators? ... And this is where I end up running into Yao Ming. (I nicknamed my writer's block.)
Then an article on Kyle Juszczyk gets published online, on his hopes of seeing his numbers making a big jump in 2015. The write-ups are fine, if "fine" is a synonym for "anxiety-instilling." Misleading? No, but I'm at this point I'm thinking, Trestman said! He'd stick with Kubiak's system!
Search and you'll discover: Bears running back Matt Forte led his team with 102 receptions in 2014.
The math is real: The Ravens backfield totaled 76 receptions last season; I even added Bernard Pierce's 2 catches. The one-man army in Chicago could have paid for five meals and still had 26 receptions left for himself. Is it fair to anticipate Trestman's offense to follow Kubiak's system and go Dutch?
More what-the calculations: In 2014, tight ends Owen Daniels, Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore and Phillip Supernaw combined for 76 receptions. In 2014, Bears' tight end Martellus Bennett hauled in 90 balls (ranked 2nd on the team), deflated or not. 90 catches for a tight end but five flippant wins for the team.
Don't get me wrong, I am glad Trestman's here. The only stat that I'm most concerned about and matters is this:
Baltimore ran the ball 448 times last year (11th-most in the league), while the Bears ran 355 times (30th) under Trestman’s watch. In his 10 seasons as an NFL play caller, Trestman's offenses have finished in the top 10 in rushing yards per game once.
Regardless of what happens this upcoming NFL season, however extravagant and successful or unbearably miserable we are, Ravens fans and writers can at least all agree on this:
Saw it coming.