For years now, Ravens fans have cried out as Joe Flacco’s skill position pairings left much to be desired. Other teams have bankrolled star receivers and stacked their pass-catching units, but the Ravens, more often than not, focused their attention on signing a defensive talent, then signing an older veteran receiver to make up the ground. It’s been their mantra since the beginning. But this season was different and there’s a chance it is the best overall offensive unit in Joe’s 11-year career in Charm City.
Going through history, there are only a few instances of upper-level success as a team on offense.
In 2008, the running game featured Le’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee and a rookie Ray Rice. The trio rushed for over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. Derrick Mason posted a 1,000-yard receiving season and Mark Clayton even brought in nearly 700 yards. Todd Heap is not to be forgotten either, with 35 catches and 400 yards. An incredible rushing attack with a complimentary passing game pushed this team to an 11-5 record.
I believe 2010 is the best offensive unit in Ravens’ history. Rice posted 1,200 yards rushing and added another 550 yards receiving. McGahee brought in 400 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns. The difference maker here was the receiving unit, which featured Mason, Heap, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin. From top-to-bottom, this offensive unit propelled the franchise to a 12-4 record.
Many times over the years, we’ve watched the Ravens add a piece to the offensive puzzle and claim they're finally surrounding Joe with talent. It happened with Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, and Jeremy Maclin. But this season, Ozzie Newsome didn’t sign a single receiver and call it good, he and Eric DeCosta pushed all-in and signed three wideouts, drafted two more and also drafted a tight end in the first- and third- rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. Baltimore also kept their workhorse tailback, Alex Collins.
It won’t be easy for the 2018 Ravens to outperform the 2010 team, but this is a strong unit on paper. On top of the impressive roster comes a determined Joe. With the selection of Lamar Jackson in the draft, the pressure turned up for the franchise quarterback. Many reports indicate he’s responding to the pressure with better passing and lengthening the gap between him and the rookie.
Joe Flacco is passing the ball at a different level than the other three quarterbacks on the Ravens roster right now. He has been throwing tight spirals and showing good touch on deep throws into tight coverage. On Thursday, Flacco connected with Chris... https://t.co/rUO8JMP9C8— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) May 31, 2018
If all goes well, Baltimore’s shift into an offensive team could land them atop the AFC North, no longer clutching onto one-score leads for the fourth quarter. With Joe Flacco and a play-making crew, we could see exciting Ravens football in just a few short months.