Joe Flacco is the leader of the Baltimore Ravens’ offense as their quarterback. Baltimore has had many injuries along the offensive line and their top three receivers are out.
"It just is what it is," Flacco said post-game, via the team's official website. "It obviously isn't the best situation, but we have to make it work."
It should come as no surprise that he isn’t going to point fingers at his teammates who are left. This isn’t an article to blame him for all of their issues. He does deserve some of the blame, but at this point, he’s earned the excuses.
It isn’t “is what it is.” Baltimore has been sloppy with personnel decisions on offense for quite some time now and the lack of depth is hurting them. It all starts with the NFL Draft.
Baltimore’s Drafting Woes
The Ravens didn’t draft a receiver in the 2017 NFL Draft and waited until June to add Jeremy Maclin. They also didn’t bother to draft an offensive lineman in the top three rounds, waiting to draft guard Nico Siragusa in the fourth round and guard Jermaine Eluemunor in the fifth round. This is strictly on the front office and coaching staff.
If you pay a Super Bowl-winning quarterback $24 million+ in salary per year, you surround him with weapons. You must put him in the best position to win and the Ravens haven’t done that. They’ve been frugal with their spending on offense and neglected their offense in the draft.
Baltimore spent the majority of their picks on the defense. O.J. Howard was on the board when they drafted cornerback Marlon Humphrey. This is no knock on Humphrey, as I believe that he is a very talented corner, but Baltimore had a need at a play-making position on offense.
Maclin and Mike Wallace are just part of the list of veteran receivers that Baltimore has picked up later in their respective careers. It’s not to say these players aren’t valuable assets to the team, but they are complementary pieces. They are no longer number one options and should not be relied on as such.
When it comes to drafting receivers, Breshad Perriman may not be the best of draft picks. However, they have to keep swinging for the fences at the receiver position. The Pittsburgh Steelers had Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Sammie Coates at draft time. They still selected JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round.
If one player goes down or wants out, the Steelers have another player in their place to fill the void. They have depth, something that the Ravens have lacked for years now. The draft is an equal opportunity for each team to improve and it comes cheaper than free agency. Baltimore has no excuse when it comes to drafting.
The other issue is the way that Baltimore drafts in juxtaposition to their offense. Flacco can throw the ball a country mile, so why is he in a dink and dunk West Coast offense with receivers that also don’t fit the system? An explanation could be arrogance from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, but I can’t really jump to any conclusions.
Perriman and Wallace are deep threats. They would fit in perfectly with the “Old Guard” of the Ravens’ vertical offense under Cam Cameron and Jim Caldwell. They aren’t prototypical West Coast wideouts, though Wallace has looked the part when he is targeted.
They need to either scrap their coaching philosophy, draft better or do both. It’s not hard for other “upper echelon” teams to make positive changes, so why has it been so elusive for the Ravens?