Nov 28, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws the ball to wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Flacco and Torrey Smith Are the X-Factors for the Ravens' Offense

A lot has been made about the additions of Steve Smith, Owen Daniels, and Jeremy Zuttah. The running game appears to be light-years ahead of the 3.0 yards per carry that the Ravens barely mustered last season. However, Flacco and Torrey Smith are the keys needed to launch the offense to a high level of efficiency this year.

Flacco left a bad taste in fans’ mouths in 2013 after a forgettable season of only 19 touchdowns to 22 interceptions. He threw for a career high in yards with 3,912 but many of those yards were in garbage time and also accumulated because of the inability to gain anything from the running game. While Flacco has improved over his first five years in the NFL he lacks consistency.

There are many occasions where Joe fails to hit the receiver in stride or tries to fit the ball into impossible windows and disaster ensues. A lot of those throws were attempted because of the wide receivers’ lack of separation from cornerbacks and Flacco trying to do too much, but he has to be more protective with the football. Under Kubiak there should be more high percentage throws available. The plethora of screen, hitch, and underneath routes should give Flacco more opportunities to succeed.  Steve Smith is known for his fantastic route running, but Torrey needs to prove he can utilize a full route tree as well.

Torrey Smith has shown that he can beat you deep and he can use pure speed to outrun most corners, but he needs to do more with short routes. Andre Johnson is a big name guy who can go deep but is very successful at routes that end before the first down markers and beating the press (which makes him an elite WR). Torrey needs to replicate that so he can have more of an impact each week.

A lot of times Torrey would disappear for the first three-quarters of a game and catch a deep ball in the fourth to get the yards, but the Ravens need more from him to become a great offense. Boldin caught the tough receptions and beat double teams consistently in order to open up lanes for Torrey and Jacoby Jones to do damage, now it is Torrey’s turn to do the same. As previously stated, Andre Johnson developed well with Kubiak at the helm, so hopefully the new OC can help Smith do just that. I have been cautious to label him as a true number one receiver, but if he can do more damage with the short and intermediate routes, the former Terrapin will earn top receiver money and the offense will flourish in 2014.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco Torrey Smith

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