With three weeks of the 2018 NFL season in the books, the picture of each team is beginning to come into a clearer focus. Each of the 32 teams have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Now that we’re starting to become more familiar with each squad, we also can begin to identify them for who they are.
ESPN decided to do this exact exercise in relation to weaknesses, naming one primary issue for each team so far. They did so in order of their power rankings, starting at number one with the Los Angeles Rams and working their way down.
At number 15 sit the Ravens, and writer Doug Clawson identifies what’s been a pretty glaring issue with the squad so far:
“The Ravens are averaging 3.1 yards per rush this season, 31st in the NFL and their worst through three games since 2013, when they finished 8-8. None of their three running backs are averaging better than 3.4 yards per rush.”
This is definitely a fair criticism based on just the numbers alone, just watching the team it’s clear they’ve lacked a consistent running attack so far in 2018. Though the weakness itself is clear, it’s fair to wonder how much of it is on the running backs and how much of the blame lies with what has at times been an underwhelming offensive line this season.
The latter reasoning seems especially true when considering the fact that Buck Allen and Alex Collins have both flashed as big time playmakers for the team in different ways this year. Some more consistent rushing lanes would no doubt give them a chance to break out on the ground moving forward.
Whether Baltimore will be able to produce rushing lanes is a different story at this point, though there are some possible reinforcements on the way. The signing of Hroniss Grasu at center and the all but inevitable insertion of Orlando Brown Jr. into the lineup seems to indicate the line could be due for a bump in performance soon.
Regardless, the lineman have held up well enough in pass protection and seem to represent the main glaring weakness on the offense so far, which is a positive development considering the aforementioned room for improvement. If they do improve moving forward, this offense has shown flashes of being one of the better units we’ve seen in the entirety of the Joe Flacco era.