Baltimore Ravens

Ravens want more red zone trips to finish in the end zone

Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said his unit has a philosophy when it gets inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line: “We say we’re going to score touchdowns and preserve field goals,” he said.

The Ravens have mostly done that, getting into the red zone 19 times and putting up at least three points in 17 of those trips. However, head coach John Harbaugh and Cameron both said this week that a priority going forward is converting more red zone trips into touchdowns. The Ravens’ seven touchdowns in 19 opportunities inside an opponent’s 20 (36.8 percent) is the fourth worst red zone touchdown percentage in the NFL.


Cameron indicated that a key to changing that could be putting the ball in quarterback Joe Flacco’s hands even more.

“Ultimately, that is what you are going to have to do,” Cameron said when asked if he was satisfied with the Ravens’ run/pass ratio inside the 20. “We have to execute better in the passing game. I think most of you have heard what I have said since Day One, we’re a work-in progress on offense, just because of the chemistry element in the passing game, and even the running game, the offensive line coming together. We are getting better. We are not where we need to be. We are not anywhere we want to be. We have no reason to be satisfied about anything we are doing, but at the same time, we are doing some things solid.”


A closer look at the Ravens’ 19 trips inside the red zone reveals that Flacco has thrown the ball on 28 of the team’s 51 plays (54.9 percent). He is 10-for-25 for 81 yards and three touchdowns, and he’s been sacked on three drop backs for a total loss of 13 yards. One positive is that Flacco has avoided throwing any red zone interceptions.

The Ravens have also not run the ball particularly well in the red zone. On 23 carries inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line, the Ravens have gained just 47 yards and scored four touchdowns, two by running back Ray Rice, one by his primary backup, Ricky Williams, and one by Flacco on a quarterback sneak. That means they are averaging less than 2.1 yards per red zone carry.

In the 29-14 victory over the Houston Texans last Sunday, the Ravens ran the ball nine times in the red zone and gained nine total yards. That included three straight runs from the 1-yard line that didn’t produce a touchdown. However, two personal foul penalties on Houston defensive end Antonio Smith prolonged the drive long enough for Flacco to score on the sneak.

While saying that he has been satisfied with the pass-favored red zone play calling, Cameron said the rushing statistics can be a “little misleading.”

“Overall, we’ve been pretty productive running the ball down there,” he said. “We ran it in there when we needed to late in the [Texans] game, and again, that defense is not chopped liver. … We’re not trying to kick field goals. We know that. We’re going to attack the end zone and if it’s not there, get to the next play, get points, let Billy [Cundiff] kick it out of the end zone, keep momentum, let our defense get back out there. We’re going to score more touchdowns, and I believe that. But one thing we’re doing a great job of is getting points. The last couple of years, if you look, we’ve turned the ball over down there. We’re making sure that we don’t do that. We’re doing some good things.”