Ravens must get these offensive playmakers involved


Aug 13, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Maxx Williams (87) leaps over New Orleans Saints cornerback Travis Manning (26) during the fourth quater in a preseason NFL football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

One thing was painfully clear as the Baltimore Ravens’ offense put on a dreadful performance against the Denver Broncos in week 1 of the NFL season – this team can’t win with only one playmaker.

Steve Smith Sr. is still a good receiver, but when he’s the only guy on the field that can make plays, opposing defenses can simply key in on Smitty and take him out of the equation  They just don’t have anybody else to worry about.

Adding insult to injury, the running game has been thoroughly unproductive through the entire offseason, and it didn’t exactly get on track last Sunday either.  You can’t even call this a one dimensional offense, because it doesn’t have a single element that is working right now.

With speedy first round draft pick Breshad Perriman out for at least a few weeks, the Ravens have to right the ship, and quickly.  Outside of their road tilt in Oakland this week, the schedule ain’t getting any easier.  So what should they do?

That’s an easy one – give your playmakers more snaps.  Instead of forcing targets to the elders (Steve Smith and Justin Forsett had 7 targets a piece) or the lumbering big men (Crockett Gillmore and Kyle Jusczczyk had 4 targets a piece), give them to the guys who have a shot at making explosive plays.

I’m talking, of course, about tight end Maxx Williams (2 targets) and wide receiver Michael Campanaro (1 target).  Both have proven that they are playmakers, both are good at moving the chains and making things happen on the field.  Both can present mismatches for opposing defenses.

That’s something that medial talents like (sorry guys) Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken are not going to do.  While Brown had a 22 yard catch against the Broncos, he’s best served as a #4 or 5 guy.  The same goes for Aiken, who is money in the red zone but is clearly not ready for a full time role (44 snaps, 3 targets, 1 catch, -1 yard?).

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The hold up, of course, is word that Williams has been slow to pick up the playbook.  Which is totally normal for rookie tight ends.  But can’t you come up with some special package plays he can feature on while he plays catch up?  Heck, the Titans did it for Marcus Mariotta this week, even running some stuff straight out of the Oregon playbook.

The knock on Campanaro is his injury history, and he might still be working his way back to full health right now.  But he’s been electric when on the field, which wasn’t often against the Broncos (11 snaps, 2 targets).

The Ravens have historically been a fairly conservative team, and it’s served them well.  But rolling out mediocre players when you have younger, talented guys sitting behind them isn’t going to spark an offense that has looked stuck in the mud since training camp began.

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