The Ravens return to practice this week following their bye week in hopes of righting the ship midway through their 2016 campaign.
There have been many woes facing the 3-4 Ravens this season, but by far their biggest concerns have been injuries and a stuttering offense.
Sitting just behind the 3-4-1 Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North, John Harbaugh’s team faces a stiff challenge taking on the division-leading Steelers on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. However, a win could catapult them past both teams and into first place.
While the bye week does offer a chance for some of the injuries to heal, can the offense flick the switch and get back on track?
“I think it’s really important, really, no matter what, especially with the fact that we need to get our offense going,” stated John Harbaugh about how beneficial the bye week is for new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. “These two practices were very valuable that way, especially so because of Marty’s situation.
“He gets a chance to really continue to rep and establish the things that he wants to do going forward.”
There’s no better time than now for the offense to form an identity and get back to an evenly balanced attack. That begins with Joe Flacco.
Their ability to put Flacco in a position to succeed going forward will ultimately decide the Ravens’ fate down the stretch.
“I’m a Joe Flacco guy,” quipped Harbaugh. “I believe in Joe. Joe is one of the most important keys for us – if not the most important key. Certainly, on offense, he’s the key to the whole thing. Joe Flacco is a great football player. Joe Flacco is the key to our success.
“We need to all do everything in our power [to ensure] all of the things are falling in place for him. He can play. He can throw it. He can make decisions. He can score touchdowns for us. He can do all of the things we need to do. We need to make sure that we give him a chance to do that. Joe will take care of what he needs to do.
“I’m not worried about Joe taking care of what he needs to do. That’s something that we all go to work on. Joe works on it harder than anybody – cares about it more than anybody. We need to protect him. We need to run routes. We need to create confidence in our passing game. We need to run the ball well. We need to do the things we need to do to make the offense work, and Joe will make the offense work.”
Will that be enough to right Flacco’s wrongs?
It’s a start. Perhaps another week to adjust to Mornhinweg’s style of offense will also help, but it’s about mechanics and Flacco’s have been deplorable.
Mornhinweg is hopeful, however, that will change shortly.
“His initial footwork is good,” stated the new OC. “Like you said, when they have a little push, it makes a quarterback bounce back just a little bit and these type of things, which is absolutely normal, when you are getting some push.
“Certainly, we are working on a few things to get better. But like I said, it is all of us together.”
Even with all the offensive sputters through the the first seven weeks, the Ravens still find themselves in the thick of what’s turning out to be the most mediocre AFC North in memory.
As they say across the parking lot from M&T Bank Stadium: Buckle Up!
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