The Ravens haven’t exactly been known for pushing the envelope on offense over the years. Nor have they usually had the makings of a passing game that could keep defenses consistently on their heels.
However, in the preseason, they have turned some heads with their approach on offense. They have regularly used something of a no-huddle attack, and it worked very well in their third preseason game vs. Jacksonville. QB Joe Flacco, in a little more than two quarters of play, completed 27-of-36 passes for 266 yards with two TDs and one interception.
“I like it a lot. It’s tough on a defense, and they can’t substitute or get off the field and for us, we know what we’re doing,” Ravens WR Torrey Smith said after the game, according to the club. While the Ravens ran the no-huddle a season ago, Smith said there’s “definitely more of an emphasis on it this year.”
Flacco’s big day came without TEs Ed Dickson (shoulder) and Dennis Pitta (hand), who are key parts of the offense. They returned to practice leading up to the fourth preseason game, and their presence will make the Ravens’ passing game even more difficult to defend.
Smith, who racked up 841 receiving yards as a rookie, could be ready to take a step forward this season. He caught 11-of-14 passes thrown his way in his first two preseason games. Veteran WR Anquan Boldin remains dependable, and new No. 3 WR Jacoby Jones adds more speed on the outside.
If all else fails, Flacco can check down to RB Ray Rice, a wonderful pass catcher. And if the Ravens’ passing game should bog down, Baltimore has shown time and again that a run-first approach, with Rice running behind the powerful Vonta Leach, can work.
The Ravens have shown they effectively can operate without huddling. It's something the opposition surely has noticed. Also, their increased potency in the passing game doesn’t figure to be lost on the opposition, either.