Judging by the way that Ravens coach John Harbaugh and his players have been talking after wins against the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers, it seems the offense found an identity that pretty much everyone can agree with. By running the ball with regularity -- even if it is for less than four yard per pop -- the Ravens are sustaining drives, opening up space for big pass plays down the field and keeping their defense fresh.
In an interview with The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome talked about that identity.
“People know when we show up, you're gonna have to stop the run,” Newsome told The Plain-Dealer’s Tony Grossi. “Then people put that eighth and ninth guy in the box. How do you defeat the eighth and ninth guy in the box? You have to go on top of them. It's hand in hand. … You have to field a team, not just one aspect of it.”
After averaging 50 pass attempts over a three-game span that concluded with Joe Flacco throwing 52 passes in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Ravens ran the ball 63 times in the wins over the 49ers and Bengals.
The rededication did not go unnoticed by Ravens players, notably outspoken outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
“Sometimes our game plan gets away from us and we've given away a few games,” Suggs said after the game on Thursday. “So, as long as we always keep the game plan in our grasp and do what we do best, play Ravens football, feed every defense a lot of Rice, I think we've got a good chance of making a good run at this thing.”
Balance is the key on offense, and Newsome raved about the passing attack, too, during his chat with Grossi.
"Our whole passing game has become complete because we have a vertical presence now [in Torrey Smith], two young tight ends that can convert against linebackers and safeties, and Anquan [Boldin], who can make plays all over the field, as well as having one of the best [receiving] backs out of the backfield," Newsome said.
They have all those weapons thanks to Newsome. It’s up to the coaches to put them to use in an effective manner, which they have done the past two weeks. Will they stick with a balanced attack against the Browns?