Three points of emphasis for the Ravens’ offense when training camp begins July 24:
1. Improving their running game
The Ravens ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing last season. Only the Jaguars and Falcons were worse. If you don’t think the running game is that important in the NFL anymore, consider this. The Saints were the only team ranked among the bottom 10 in rushing last season (25th) that made the playoffs.
The Ravens believe their offensive line is better this season, no matter who starts at right tackle. They traded for a new starting center in Jeremy Zuttah, and right guard Marshal Yanda is healthy again. But whether Ray Rice returns to being an elite back or not after his expected suspension, the Ravens need more from their running game to make a playoff return.
2. Pass protection
Joe Flacco was sacked 48 times last season. Only Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins was sacked more (58). In new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system, Flacco is expected to move in the pocket a little more on bootlegs and rollouts. The Ravens are also hoping Flacco gets rid of the football more quickly in a West Coast style offense, reducing some of the pressure on the offensive line in pass protection.
Flacco threw 22 interceptions last season, a career high. Whether you blame those picks primarily on Flacco, his receivers, or his pass protection, 22 is simply too many. That number needs to go down for the Ravens’ win total to go up.