Midseason Report Card: Offense

Dev Panchwagh whipped his Sharpie pen out of his sock, a la Terrell Owens, and gave his first half grades for the Ravens this season.

Quarterbacks: So the question going into the season was whether Chris Redman could be counted on as the future signal caller for the Ravens, and so far, the question still hasn't been answered.


After starting the first six games of the season, and netting a passer rating of 76.1, Redman missed his next two starts against Pittsburgh and Atlanta, and will miss another game against Cincinnati next Sunday.


Before missing those games, Redman seemed nothing short of workman like against every defense he faced besides Tampa Bay's, which is currently ranked No.1 in the league. He's shown nice touch in the intermediate passing game, accuracy and toughness in the pocket so far. Conversely, Redman has also misfired on a number of deep passes and out patterns, and still tends to lock in on his primary read.


His counter part, Jeff Blake, has been firing moon shots to receivers down the field, but has been horribly inaccurate passing the football 10-15 yards down the seams.


Between the two of them, the Ravens have received average play from the quarterback position so far this season, which they could live with in the short term.


Grade: C-


Running Backs: The Ravens knew coming into the season that if they were to have any success, they would need a sound rushing attack to help take the pressure off of Chris Redman.


Despite four shaky outings against Carolina, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Atlanta, Jamal Lewis has provided the Ravens with a presence they sorely need to make their offense viable.


Lewis, coming off of two reconstructed knee surgeries, has rushed for 646 yards rushing 8 games into the season, which puts him on pace to rush for close to 1,300 yards. Lewis also leads the team in receptions, and has accounted for over 40% of the offensive production going into Sunday's game against the Bengals.

Whether he can keep playing at this pace is still questionable, but the Ravens won't push him harder than he needs to be pushed.


Chester Taylor, Lewis' backup, had not been a factor whatsoever in the rushing attack thus far. Look for Taylor to pick up more carries as the season progresses, especially considering that feeding Lewis the ball more than 20-25 times a game is a shaky proposition.


As for the fullback position, it's in been in the hands of Alan Ricard so far, and the third year player has blossomed into a surprisingly effective lead blocker.


Despite not possessing great size, Ricard is a physical player at the point of attack and invites a collision on every down. Besides the blocking though, Ricard has proven that he's also a decent short yardage back that can pick up three yards and a cloud of dust if needed.


Grade: B


Receivers: The Ravens needed starters Travis Taylor and Brandon Stokley to step up at the wideout position, and Todd Heap to step into the tight end spot and flourish.


So far, only Heap has cemented his status as a reliable starter for quarterbacks Chris Redman or Jeff Blake to count on producing each Sunday. In fact, the Ravens pretty much committed grand larceny when they were able to snag Heap with the 31st selection in the 2001 draft.

The Golden Retriever is on pace to finish with close to 700 yards receiving, but more than that, he is emerging into a future All-Pro and has all the tools to become one of the top 2-3 players at his position. So far, Heap has given the Ravens a 6'5 target down the middle of the field that can stretch defenses using his speed and leaping ability.


Meanwhile, the Ravens have also gotten adequate play from their backup tight ends, Jon Jones and Terry Jones J.R., who are usually deployed as blockers in the running game.


At the receiver spot, the Ravens have received decent production from their starters, Stokley and Taylor, especially in recent weeks, but both players need to stay more consistent.


Stokley played well for the first four games of the season, but has been a non factor in the pass offense ever since.

On the other hand,
Taylor was noticeably invisible while Stokley was snatching passes at will, but is now starting to emerge as the go to wideout the Ravens have been craving for.


At this point, Stokley has proven to be a good slot receiver at best, and Taylor has proven that he could become a reliable No.2 wide receiver for the next few seasons.


Grade: C


Offensive Line: It's the same story with this unit every season for the most part. They can run block well, and will have their moments in pass protection, but they are hardly a steady unit that can be relied on every Sunday.


For that reason, the Ravens' offense has also been just average this season.

It starts and ends with the right tackle position for this team every season. The Ravens started the year playing Edwin Mulitalo at the treacherous spot, but after the bye week, the club wised up and moved the beast left guard to his original position.


Now manning the edge is Ethan Brooks, who not surprisingly, has played inconsistently in his five starts at right tackle. He's shown flashes that he can be a decent starter if need be, but his niche seems to be as a plus backup who can fill in at both LT/RT spots in a pinch.


As for the rest of the line, they biggest difference maker seems to be right guard Bennie Anderson, who has now emerged into a solid starter. Anderson is slow in picking up the blitz up the middle, and doesn't have quick feet, but he's a road grader in run blocking situations and is physical when he needs to be.

At the center position, Mike Flynn has been a decent starter, much like he was last year. However, backup Casey Rabach looks to be the Ravens' future starter at center and did a nice job in his two starts filling in for Flynn.


And then there's the left side, which is as reliable as an old ford truck. Jonathan Ogden is the best left tackle in football and Mulitalo is a rock at guard.


Grade: C


Three Forecasts for the Second Half


  1. Jeff Blake will remain the starter at QB because Chris Redman's herniated disc will hamper him throughout the season. Whether Blake keeps his job going into next year is another story though.


  1. Travis Taylor will continue to emerge as the go to wideout in the Ravens' offense, and will come close to gaining 1,000 yards for the first time in his three year career, bolstering his status as a reliable starting receiver in the NFL.


  1. The Ravens will be ranked in the top twelve in rush offense for the third season in a row by the end of the year. With defenses like Cincinnati, Miami, Tennessee and Cleveland left to face on the schedule, the Ravens will pad their rush stats fairly easily.  

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