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Trestman, Ravens still looking for run-pass balance


Trestman, Ravens still looking for run-pass balance

With the return of all five starting offensive linemen and 1,000-yard back, the Ravens figured to be a run-first team in 2015, especially given the major question marks at wide receiver beyond Steve Smith.

Yet halfway through the season, the Ravens remain a more pass-heavy offense, and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman conceded on Tuesday that "we're certainly not where we (want to be)" in terms of running the ball.

"There was a point about four weeks ago when we thought we were moving in the right direction," Trestman said. "We had a couple of very, very productive games running the football, and then it diminished."

Through the first eight games, the Ravens have run the ball on 37 percent of their offensive plays -- with 199 rushes and 339 pass plays (325 passes and 14 sacks). Last year, the Ravens ran on 43.9 percent of their offensive snaps.

Trestman noted that game situations have dictated much of that, although criticism over abandoning the run too quickly when falling behind predate Trestman, who is in his first year with the Ravens. The Ravens ran the ball just four times in the second half against Arizona, but at one point they trailed by 16 points in that game.

But even against San Diego, which entered the game with the 31st-ranked run defense, the Ravens looked to pass first. In the second quarter of that game, not counting a kneel-down by Joe Flacco to end the half, the Ravens had 11 offensive plays -- one run and 10 passes.

Then in the third quarter, with the Ravens backed up near their own end zone, they picked up 13 yards on three straight running plays. With a new set of downs and out of the shadow of the goalpost, the Ravens ran three straight pass plays -- two incompletions sandwiched around a sack, and had to punt. The Ravens finished the game with 72 rushing yards on 25 carries -- just a 2.9-yard average against one of the worst run defenses in the league. So it's not as if the Ravens were shredding the Chargers on the ground.

For the year, the Ravens rank 19th in the league in rushing yards per play (3.99), though Justin Forsett ranks sixth in the league with 562 yards and is on pace for another 1,000-yard season. 

Trestman noted that during the bye week, the run game will be a point of emphasis as coaches prepare for the second half of the season.

"That will be one of our projects this week is to take a look at what we’re doing running the football. ... We're going to take a good, hard look at everything," he said.

"Certainly, we want to be more productive … It’s not how many times we run, but it’s the production we have when we’re running the football, and we want to do better.”

[RELATED: Smith passes two Hall of Famers on all-time record list]

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Ravens safety DeShon Elliott likely out for the season with knee injury

Ravens safety DeShon Elliott likely out for the season with knee injury

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just one game after losing a starting safety for the season with a knee injury, the Ravens lost another key contributor in the secondary. 

DeShon Elliott suffered a knee injury Sunday against the Bengals and will likely be out for the remainder of the season, coach John Harbaugh said. 

“I do have bad news with DeShon Elliott, it looks like he’s going to be out for the year, unfortunately,” Harbaugh said. “Just way worse than we thought it was going to be, doctors thought after the game. That’s preliminary, but it sounded like they were pretty confident that it wasn’t good.”

Elliott, a second-year pro out of Texas, was a sixth round pick in 2018, but missed the season with a broken forearm. 

He played in six games this season and registered six total tackles.

Elliott’s injury is the second season-ending injury to a safety in back-to-back weeks, as Tony Jefferson is out with a knee injury as well. 

Harbaugh said it was “very possible” the team could explore adding a player outside the organization to fill Elliott and Jefferson’s spot in the secondary.

Through the season, the Ravens have now lost Tavon Young, Jefferson and Elliott to season-ending injuries and are still without Jimmy Smith, who is out with an MCL sprain.


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Anquan Boldin retires as a Raven, the organization he always wanted to be with

Anquan Boldin retires as a Raven, the organization he always wanted to be with

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Anquan Boldin wanted to be a Raven just over a year before he actually became one. 

After Boldin and the Cardinals fell in the 2009 Super Bowl to the Steelers, Boldin and Ray Lewis sat at the Pro Bowl and talked about what they could do to get Boldin to Baltimore. 

“Me and Ray had a conversation poolside trying to figure out how I was going to get here and how we were going to make it happen,” Boldin recalled. “The only thing on his mind was, ‘We’ve got to beat Pittsburgh. Can you help us do that?’ I told him, ‘Get me there, I’ll take care of it.’” 

About 13 months after that conversation, Boldin was traded to the Ravens for third and fourth-round picks. He played three seasons in Baltimore from 2010 through 2012, where he won a Super Bowl with the team in the 2012 season. 

He registered 837, 887 and 921 yards, respectively, in his three seasons in Baltimore for 2,645 yards total. He also had 14 touchdowns, including one in Super Bowl XLVII. 

In the 2012 playoffs, Boldin had 380 yards on 22 receptions with four touchdowns as the Ravens' offense carried the team to a Super Bowl win. 

“This is the sixth guy that has retired a Raven, and five of them played for other teams,” former Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said. “This organization does a very good job and it begins at the top with Steve.”

Over his 14-year NFL career, Boldin was a three-time Pro Bowler, 2003 Offensive Rookie of The Year and 2015 Walter Payton Man of The Year. He had 91 total touchdowns (including playoffs) and nearly 14,000 yards receiving —which places him 14th all-time. 

Boldin began his career in Arizona with the Cardinals before his three-year run in Baltimore. He was traded in 2013 to the 49ers and spent three years there before capping his career in 2016 with the Lions. 

“It’s definitely an honor to retire a Raven,” Boldin said. “I played for four different organizations, but there’s no other organization, I would say, that had an impact on myself and my family like this organization...I can truly say this organization, this community embraced us fully from the first day we got here.”

While everyone lauded his abilities in the locker room, coach John Harbaugh also praised his ability to make contested catches. In just three years, Boldin make a significant impact on the Ravens receiving corps.

“The fact that you want to retire a Raven is probably one of the biggest honors we’ve had around here,” Harbaugh said to Boldin. 

Boldin said an organization never embraced him like the Ravens did for his three years in the purple and black.

“We truly feel like we are Ravens for life,” Boldin said. “We appreciate you guys for accepting us.”