Ravens Offensive Expectations Already Raised

Owner Steve Bisciotti said that paying Flacco, Rice shows elevated expectations for offense.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Monday, March 26th, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Categories: 2012 Offseason, Garrett Downing

Defense is at the heart of the Baltimore Ravens tradition, and having one of the NFL’s most-feared defenses remains a top priority.

But expectations for the offense have caught up.

The Ravens are showing a commitment to the offense this offseason by negotiating long-term contract extensions for quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice.  

Asked if the resources put into the offense have raised his expectations for the unit, Owner Steve Bisciotti said they’ve already been raised.

“I think the expectation has already changed or we wouldn’t be entertaining these [deals],” Bisciotti said Monday from the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. “We’re actually paying them for what they’ve shown us and that we believe they have the ability to continue to deliver for us.”

For much of the organization’s 17-year history, a large portion of the team’s resources have been spent on the defensive side of the ball, as big contracts were given to players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata.

Recently, however, the offense has continued to take on an increased emphasis, with Flacco and Rice becoming faces of the franchise and now in line for big paydays. 

“They are two of the most important people in the offense and we want balance,” Bisciotti said.

The team’s offense has improved in recent seasons, and last year the Ravens ranked 12th in points per game, 15th in yards per game, 19th in passing yards and 10th in rushing yards.

The offense has also evolved, Bisciotti said, developing more layers and an aggressiveness to compete against teams in the NFL.

“The characteristics of our offense seem to be spreading out, with the speed of Torrey Smith, the pass-catching ability of our feature back and the two tight-end involvement has really completely revamped our offense over the last couple years,” Bisciotti said. “It looks like a lot of teams are going about things the same way and I think that we’re kind of keeping in lock-step with the evolution of the game.”

As the offense has taken steps forward, the defense has remained one of the league’s best, finishing last season third overall, second against the run and fourth against the pass.

Bisciotti made it clear once again that while he wants the offense to continue trending up, those moves won’t come at the defense’s expense.

“I don’t want that to swing to the point where our defense falls to the 10th or 12th best to get the 10th of 12th best offense,” he said. “You need a combination of the two and we already have an elite defense. I think it would be almost impossible to give that up.

“You can’t. So we have to play to our strengths.”

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