The Baltimore Ravens’ season ended in disappointment with the team missing out on the playoffs. What should they focus on this offseason?
The Baltimore Ravens’ season ended in disappointment this year with the team missing the out on the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Now is the time to focus on the future, and most notably, what the Baltimore Ravens need to fix in order to get the team back in Super Bowl contention. Some of that will be addressed in free agent signings, some will be addressed in the NFL Draft.
So the question is, what were the Baltimore Ravens’ weak spots and what can they do to fix them?
The Receiving Corps
It’s not really a controversial thing to say that the Baltimore Ravens passing game was bad this year. How much of that is on Joe Flacco and how much of that is on the receiving corps can be debated, but one thing is certain, the team needs receivers.
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Signing Jeremy Maclin this past offseason sounded like a great idea at the time, but he and Flacco never really worked up a rapport together, not to mention the fact that Maclin spent a lot of the season hurt (as he has many seasons in the past).
That left Mike Wallace and whoever else the Ravens decided to throw in the game. For a while, that was Breshad Perriman, who continued to show that he is one of the biggest draft busts in the history of the team.
After that, it was Chris Moore, who was decent, if unspectacular, and a dash of Michael Campanaro. Naturally, Ben Watson and Maxx Williams worked their way into the passing game a bit and helped out, but there wasn’t a single player that was all that impressive.
Wallace will be a free agent after this season, perhaps the team will bring him back, or perhaps they’ll go with a different free agent, someone like Sammy Watkins (assuming he doesn’t re-sign with the Los Angeles Rams), or perhaps even bet on a Terrelle Pryor comeback.
They could also grab someone in the NFL Draft, though we all know how well that’s worked out in the past (spoiler: it hasn’t).
The Pass Rush
If there was one positive about the Baltimore Ravens’ season this year, it was their defense, which ranked near the top of the league in most stats each week (especially the secondary).
But as the season went on, the Ravens’ pass rush began to vanish, which is extremely concerning. In Week 16, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett was able to essentially run wild without pressure for most of the game, and in Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Andy Dalton was able to do the same.
I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% sure what it was. Was it Dean Pees’ conservative playcalling? That certainly played a part. Was it age finally catching up with Terrell Suggs? Perhaps. Either way, the Ravens could use to sure up their pass rush.
Having a new defensive coordinator in Don “Wink” Martindale may help, depending on how close he plays to Pees’ defense, and adding to the pass rush via the NFL Draft would help too.
A New Quarterback
Stop it. I’m not saying that the Ravens need to replace Joe Flacco this offseason, they don’t. But Flacco turned 33 on Tuesday, which makes him one of the oldest active quarterbacks in the NFL.
As of now, only the following quarterbacks are older than Flacco:
- Tom Brady (40)
- Drew Brees (39)
- Josh McCown (38)
- Eli Manning (37)
- Philip Rivers (36)
- Ben Roethlisberger (35)
- Aaron Rodgers (34)
- Jay Cutler (34)
- Alex Smith (33)
Who knows if McCown or Cutler are coming back, it wouldn’t be shocking if they retired, which would leave Flacco as the seventh-oldest quarterback in the NFL. It’s fair to wonder just how much longer Flacco will be productive, you could argue he’s been pretty bad ever since the 2012 Super Bowl season.
It might not be a bad idea for the Baltimore Ravens to start preparing for life without Flacco sooner rather than later, and the NFL Draft is a great place to do that.