Sec­ond look at Ravens of­fense hasn’t shown much

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - Mike.pre­ston@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/MikePre­stonSun

sup­posed to be as ef­fec­tive as run­ning plays.

But it hasn’t worked for the Ravens since Gary Ku­biak va­cated the of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor po­si­tion and be­came head coach of the Den­ver Bron­cos in 2015.

The Ravens were with­out Flacco, their starter, on Thurs­day night and he cer­tainly has a stronger arm and more com­mand of the of­fense than Mal­lett. But the Ravens’ start­ing unit only chal­lenged Mi­ami down­field once in the first half, and that pass was in­ter­cepted as Mal­lett tried to throw down the left side­line to rookie re­ceiver Quincy Ade­boyejo.

Dur­ing the off­sea­son, the Ravens stressed they wanted to get an­other big-play re­ceiver in the of­fense af­ter the re­tire­ment of Steve Smith Sr., and they went out and signed for­mer Kansas City Chiefs re­ceiver Jeremy Ma­clin. But Ma­clin has done noth­ing in the pre­sea­son games and hasn’t been a big play­maker in prac­tices dur­ing train­ing camp.

Vet­eran Mike Wal­lace, pos­si­bly the fastest re­ceiver on the team, was used mostly on hitches and quick turn­arounds against the Dol­phins. It’s pre­sea­son, and of course head coaches will say they don’t want to show too much.

Un­for­tu­nately for the Ravens, we’ve heard this story and seen the of­fense too many times through­out the years. The Ravens can’t use the ex­cuse that they don’t have speed be­cause they have a lot of it.

Wal­lace is a burner and so is Bre­shad Per­ri­man, when he steps on the field. Tight end Larry Don­nell has shown the abil­ity to stretch de­fenses down the mid­dle of the field as well dur­ing train­ing camp.

But the speed hasn’t been on dis­play. The Ravens are go­ing to need those big plays this sea­son. They have yet to play a reg­u­lar-sea­son game, but they have a Ravens wide re­ceiver Mike Wal­lace makes a catch against Dol­phins de­fen­sive back Al­ter­raun Verner. Wal­lace was used mostly on hitches and short turn­around pat­terns. patch­work of­fen­sive line that will prob­a­bly strug­gle all sea­son. They have ad­e­quate but not spec­tac­u­lar run­ning backs, and Flacco is com­ing off a poor show­ing from last sea­son.

The Ravens’ phi­los­o­phy of try­ing to es­tab­lish a strong run­ning game this year is un­der­stand­able. They should have one of the best de­fenses in the NFL and that unit will keep them in al­most ev­ery game this sea­son.

But they are still go­ing to have to man­u­fac­ture points and a cou­ple of big plays will be needed. Those days of three or four 70- to 80-yard drives a game are gone. It might be pre­sea­son and a time not to show too much, but it’s also a time to work on things like pushing the ball down­field more.

Even­tu­ally, they are go­ing to have to do that to win a few games.

WIL­FREDO LEE/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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