Baltimore Ravens 2013 Offense vs 2014: What Changed?

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Sep 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports


Justin Forsett was easily the best addition to the Ravens offense this season, maybe the best free agent signing of the entire NFL free agency period. Where would the Ravens be without him? Forsett already has 721 yards heading into Week 11, which for you mathematicians is 61 more rushing yards than Ray Rice had all of last season.

Forsett is averaging 5.4 yards per carry which leads all running backs in the NFL. Forsett actually contemplated retirement before the Ravens gave him a call. In my midseason grades article, I gave Forsett the MVP award at the midpoint of the season, and I really don’t think it’s even close. He has been invaluable to this team, while Pierce has struggled at times, and Taliaferro is still learning as rookie, Forsett has always been consistent. He is an older veteran, so his carries may decrease a little, but I do not see his production going down at all.

Steve Smith Sr. was also a huge addition to the Ravens offense. Smith Sr. has slowed down of late but was a crucial part to the Ravens’ early success. Smith Sr. has honestly been more productive than I thought he would be coming to Baltimore.

The savvy veteran continues to prove many people wrong, including myself. Even though he was top five in receiving yards early on in the season and is now down to 11th in total receiving yards, that is still pretty darn good.

Torrey Smith at the beginning of the season was getting the No. 1 receiver treatment from defensive coordinators, but that quickly changed as Steve Smith Sr. showed that even at age 35, he still has it. Now, Torrey Smith is getting the No. 2 receiver treatment and has five touchdowns in the last five games. It will be interesting to see how defensive coordinators adjust going forward.

This Ravens revamped offensive line boasts two new starters and one returning starter. Jeremy Zuttah was traded by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a Ravens fifth round pick. Ricky Wagner was given the opportunity to start at right tackle, with Michael Oher going back to his home state of Tennessee. Kelechi Osemele was out with a back injury for the majority of last season and is back starting this season.

All three of these additions have been thoroughly impressive.

Last season, Rick Wagner was thrown to the wolves when Michael Oher went down with an injury in the 2013 NFL season opener against the Denver Broncos. Wagner had a rough time in his Ravens debut, giving up two sacks to Shaun Phillips. However, Wagner has been spectacular this season. He is one of the best tackles in the NFL in run blocking and has improved very much in pass protection.

Jeremy Zuttah has definitely done a great job at center this season. Ravens fans remember the Gino Gradowski experiment from last season and how putrid that went. Ravens fans are just happy to be back watching an average center, and Zuttah has certainly been above-average this season.

Kelechi Osemele is one of the most underrated guards in the NFL. He and Marshall Yanda may be the best guard tandem in the NFL. Osemele has only been in the league three years, and every time I watch him play, he improves. His injury last season hurt the Ravens’ offense more than people may have realized. A.Q. Shipley came in to start and was almost comparably bad to Gino Gradkowski. Osemele’s health is huge to the Ravens success, especially in the run game.

Owen Daniels has been huge for this Ravens offense. Since Dennis Pitta was lost for the season, Daniels has stepped up into the No. 1 tight end role that he had filled for so long in Houston. He has been a very underrated blocker this season as well as a reliable target for Joe Flacco. Flacco and Daniels have definitely picked up their chemistry on the field, as he has definitely looked for Daniels more and more as the season has gone on.

I saved the best addition for last, Gary Kubiak. Kubiak has been a fantastic offensive coordinator this season. I really hope he stays in Baltimore for many years to come. Kubiak is the engine that makes this offense go. He has found the fountain of youth for Steve Smith Sr. and Justin Forsett, while leading Joe Flacco to a possible career year.

When Eugene Monroe and Kelechi Osemele went down due to injury for a few games, many Ravens fans panicked. The Ravens put faith in Kubiak’s scheme, as well as undrafted rookie James Hurst and fifth round pick John Urschel, and the offense did quite well in that spell.

It is not often an undrafted rookie and a fifth-round pick do that well in their first couple of games. That is a true sign of great coaching and confidence in that coach’s scheme. As I said earlier, I hope Kubiak stays here in Baltimore for a very long time.