Baltimore Ravens: Marc Trestman’s Second Season Must Be Better

Oct 11, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman during the game against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman during the game against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens offense struggled in their first year under Marc Trestman. Things should be better in 2016 with an influx of new talent on offense or he could be looking for a new job.

The Ravens offense finished 14th in total yards and in the top 10 in passing yards. That might seem like a solid season, but we need no reminders of how bad they played en route to a 5-11 record.

Injuries had a lot to do with the disastrous 2015 season. The Ravens were without Joe Flacco, Steve Smith and Justin Forsett by the end of the season. While they were all crushing blows, it’s not like the offense was firing on all cylinders when they were in the lineup either.

The Ravens finishing eighth in passing yards was a concern that many fans had entering last season. Trestman has been known to air it out and forget about his running game. Just ask Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte about his rushing totals under Trestman.

Baltimore finished 26th in rushing last season, one year after finishing in the top ten in rushing yards under Gary Kubiak. The backs did see a rise in passes thrown to them as Forsett, Javorius Allen and Kyle Juszczyk all finished with 30 receptions or more. Only two wide receivers finished with more catches than the Ravens’ backfield.

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The key for the Ravens to be successful is to get the ground game going. Baltimore has been known for having a strong rushing attack and defense, which both were lacking last season. Forsett looked nothing like the back we saw in 2015 that rushed for 5.4 yards per carry and eight touchdowns. That success allowed the Ravens to use the play action effectively, something we saw little of last season.

Baltimore finished eighth in scoring in 2014 under Kubiak (25.6 points per game), compared to 25th last season (20.5). The rise in passing yards was a tribute to trailing in many games and being forced to air it out. The also squandered several fourth quarter leads as they struggled to close out games in large part because the ground game could not get the job done.

In all fairness, Trestman was not working with the most talented bunch. Outside Smith and Forsett, there were a ton of unknowns on offense. Breshad Perriman was supposed to be a factor, but never took the field. We saw flashes from the young trio of tight ends, but they did not consistently make game-changing plays like we have seen in the past from Dennis Pitta and Todd Heap

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No one can say that Ozzie Newsome is not trying to make things better on offense. The Ravens needed to add some playmakers this offseason, and they did that by bringing in Benjamin Watson and Mike Wallace. They also are taking chances on Trent Richardson, a former first-round pick who has struggled in the NFL, and Pitta, who is attempting to make a comeback from a devastating hip injury.

Even if the aforementioned names do not turn out to be starters for the Ravens, they give Trestman more proven weapons to work with in case of another injury plagued season. Kamar Aiken had a fantastic year, but he does not on have the same talent as Perriman and Wallace. Terrence Magee was the third running back on the roster at one point, and one would hope that T Rich can be a better option than that.

What the Ravens decide to do with their tight end situation will be interesting to watch. Watson had a terrific year for the New Orleans Saints last season. Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmore played well last season, but Nick Boyle was the biggest surprise. Add Pitta back into the mix and you wonder if he will ever make the team with the surplus of talent at the position.

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Trestman has no excuses this season for the offense not to be better. If he wants to continue to attack teams through the air, he now has the pieces to do so. The Ravens O needs to be better in 2016 or Trestman can get a ticket out of Baltimore.