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Baltimore Ravens offense could be off to a slow start in 2016

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens, on paper, look like a very deep roster on the offensive side of the ball at the skill positions. At wide receiver, you have Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Jeremy Butler and Keenan Reynolds.

At running back, you have Kenneth Dixon, Justin Forsett, and Buck Allen as the top three on the roster. At tight end, you also have Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta and Benjamin Watson.

Along the offensive line, the Ravens have Ronnie Stanley, Marshal Yanda, Eugene Monroe, Jeremy Zuttah and Ricky Wagner as the five likely starters. When you factor in all 18 players listed, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco should be able to march down the field and exploit opposing defenses right out of the gate right? Wrong.

Flacco has yet to see any meaningful playing time in practice as he has watched from the sidelines during OTA's (Organized Team Activities) as he continues to rehab from his torn ACL and MCL he suffered late in the 2015 season. The Ravens and Flacco are targeting training camp as the time frame in which Flacco will be ready to go. But even if that is the case, we won't know how ready Flacco will be for week 1 against the Buffalo Bills until he plays.

Recovering from a torn ACL and MCL is different for everyone and there have been encouraging signs in the torn ACL department from guys like Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in recent years. Torn ACL's, for example, are not the death blow it used to be thanks to the advancement of rehab in the medical field.

But having said all of that, even if Flacco were healthy, the Ravens in recent years have been slow starters out of the gate to begin games especially in the first four weeks of the regular season. Let's look at the offensive touchdowns that the Ravens have produced to begin the first month of a regular season since 2013:

First-half touchdowns during weeks 1 through 4 of the 2013 season:

  • Five touchdowns (One in the first quarter)

First-half touchdowns during weeks 1 through 4 of the 2014 season:

  • Five touchdowns (One in the first quarter)

First-half touchdowns during weeks 1 through 4 of the 2015 season:

  • Three touchdowns (Two in the first quarter)

A couple of notes:

  • To sum this up, in the last three seasons overall, the Ravens have scored a combined total of 13 touchdowns to begin the first-half of games during weeks 1 through 4 in the last three seasons. Not good.
  • What is even more amazing (In a bad way) is that the Ravens have only scored four touchdowns in the first quarter of games in the month of September from 2013 through 2015 combined.
Yes, the Ravens offense is horrible when it comes to starting out fast to begin games. Mind you, that has been a problem when Flacco is healthy. Flacco isn't healthy right now and it wouldn't be wise to put all of the pressure on him to carry the team right off the bat to begin the 2016 season as he recovers from his torn ACL and MCL.

To be fair, the Ravens have also had three different offensive coordinators in that time (Jim Caldwell in 2013, Gary Kubiak in 2014 and Mark Trestman in 2015). But at the same time, this offense has to trend in the right direction immediately given the soft schedule the Ravens have to begin the 2016 season and the tough schedule the Ravens have to end the 2016 season.


The offense on paper looks pretty good in terms of talent. This might be the deepest roster the Ravens have had on the offensive side of the ball in franchise history. But we should all be in a 'wait and see' mode because we have seen in the past how well the Ravens offense performs in practice during the offseason but struggles when it matters in the regular season.