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Was Marc Trestman the main problem, or the fall guy for deeper issues with Ravens offense?

Was Marc Trestman the main problem, or the fall guy for deeper issues with Ravens offense?

Now that Marc Trestman is done as Ravens offensive coordinator, the heat turns up on the players and coaches to fix what is wrong with the offense.

The Ravens (3-2) insist they have the quarterback and the weapons to have a potent attack. But that hasn’t materialized in the first five games. If the switch to Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator leads to more points, more offensive consistency, and more wins, then firing Trestman will be remembered as a turning point in the season. But if the switch to Mornhinweg doesn’t produce tangible improvement, then Trestman is just a fall guy for deeper issues.

Here are three problems on Mornhinweg’s plate that need to be addressed, regardless of his game plan or his play-calling:

1. The offensive line needs to protect quarterback Joe Flacco better.

Whether left tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot) returns soon or not, Flacco can’t play his best football getting hit on a regular basis.

“We didn’t protect the quarterback very well,” coach John Harbaugh said Sunday after losing to the Redskins. “He got hit way too much. That has to stop.”

RELATED: Ravens Week 5 offensive report card

The Ravens don’t have a lot of options on the offensive line they haven’t tried. Alex Lewis moved from left guard to left tackle on Sunday, while John Urschel took over at left guard. Right tackle Rick Wagner left Sunday’s game with a thigh injury that will be further evaluated. The sooner Stanley returns, the better for the Ravens’ line. But if Flacco is under duress all season, the passing game may never become consistent.

2. Flacco needs to play better.

Flacco has missed on some throws he should have completed. There are times when he doesn’t set his feet, or rushes his throws, or fails to step into throws when he can. It’s tougher to hang in the pocket when getting pressured on a regular basis. But if the Ravens are going to take their offense to another level, Flacco needs to throw more consistently.

3. More playmakers need to step to the forefront.

Especially if Steve Smith Sr. (ankle injury) is going to be hampered, or miss time, other skill position players need to step up, particularly Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace, and Dennis Pitta. Mornhinweg also needs to take a close look at why wide receiver Kamar Aiken has disappeared from the game plan, after catching 75 passes last year. Especially if the Ravens are not going to get consistency from Perriman and others, they should figure out how to get more from Aiken.

Was Trestman the main problem, or did he take the fall for a team that has deep offensive shortcomings? The next 11 games will answer that question. Because if things don’t improve offensively from this point, frustrated fans won’t be able to blame Trestman anymore.


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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?