SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Ravens shouldn’t concede they don’t have a deep passing game anymore, just because they don’t have a healthy Breshad Perriman, their fastest wide receiver.
Deep passes need to be part of their game plan. Not just Sunday against the Raiders, but from this point forward.
Joe Flacco attempted just one pass longer than 20 yards during a Week 1 loss in Denver. That’s like taking a Ferrari on the freeway and doing 55.
Flacco has one of the best arms in football. Let him use it. Challenge cornerbacks. Stretch the defense. Flacco said as much after Wednesday’s practice in California, and he was right.
“We need to take our shots,” Flacco said. “If nothing else, and least let teams know we’re going to do that and have the confidence in ourselves in doing that.
“It’s tough to maintain 15-play drives consistently and score points, so we’re going to have that as part of our game.”
It’s time for a more aggressive game plan from new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. The Ravens are still looking for their first offensive touchdown of the season. They are ranked 32nd offensively in the league through Week 1, dead last.
Not an impressive Ravens debut for Trestman. But the responsibility to crank up the offense doesn’t just fall on the play calling. It’s on the offensive line to protect Flacco better. It’s on the Ravens’ pass-catchers to win more battles when the ball is in the air. And it’s on Flacco to throw the ball more accurately.
Perriman didn’t practice Wednesday, and it’s still unclear when he’s coming back from his knee injury. The Ravens can’t afford to wait on Perriman to get to the deep passing chapters in their playbook.
Flacco must take occasional shots downfield to Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, and Kamar Aiken this Sunday. None of them are as fast as Perriman. But even if they don’t get separation, give them a chance to win jump balls. Perhaps draw a pass interference penalty. And stretching the Raiders’ defense should create more room for receivers to work underneath routes.
“I don’t think we’re going to have that guy right now that’s going to run by guys five times a game, but we definitely have guys that can run crossing routes and be hit 30 yards downfield and can run double moves downfield, things like that. That’s what we’re going to have to do.”
If the Ravens play as poorly offensively in Week 2 as they did in Week 1, they are capable of losing Sunday at Oakland. That would make the Ravens 0-2 for first time under John Harbaugh. And that would make this opening road trip West a colossal failure, especially when you consider that linebacker Terrell Suggs (Achilles injury) has already been lost for the season.
The Ravens have already gone West. On Sunday, it’s time for their offense to go deep a little more often.
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