Baltimore Ravens: Big Plays Win Big Games


In the NFL its nice to be able to methodically move down the field. That certainly is the goal of Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator, Marc Trestman. The Ravens however don’t seem to be capable of the quick-strike play. Without the threat of a vertical passing game, or a running back who can have big gains, the Ravens have no choice but to move down the field, slowly but surely.

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In basketball they say that if you live by the three-point shot, you die by the three-point shot. It’s funny how the reigning champion Golden State Warriors have ignored this. Steph Curry and company could break the longstanding record of the Chicago  Bulls for wins in a season. They live by the big play. They live by the three.

In football there is the same concept. When Jordy Nelson went down it really hurt the Green Bay Packers ability to hit the home run passing play. The Packers potent offense struggled much more than they were used to. Without the routine presence of the big chunk play, defenses could be more aggressive. The Carolina Panthers made it to the Super Bowl because Cam Newton was a home run play waiting to happen.

One of the beautiful things about a west coast offense is that it attacks every nook and cranny of the field. It stretches the entire 53.3 yards of width that an NFL field provides. It sets up deep and intermediate passing routes. The very core of a west coast offense is that it can systematically attack the entire field.

When Trestman ignores the vertical attack, what he is really doing is compressing the field. Now the Ravens have to play with defensive backs in their receivers’ face. They are ready for the short pass. What the Ravens need is a threat of a home run play.

There is a reason that Baltimore Orioles player, Chris Davis, doesn’t get a ton of fastballs down the middle. Instead pitchers attempt to make him chase balls outside of his comfort zone. Theoretically its better for the Orioles to get Davis on base and increase the potential amount of runs they can score in the inning. But the opposing pitcher will do anything to avoid the solo shot home run.

It is a matter that is fairly universal in sports. A big play, where you get a lot in one play, it can change the outcome of a game. The Ravens need to be able to move the ball methodically down the field but its hard to do when you can’t make the defense pay in one snap of the football. The Ravens need speed and they need it badly.

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That’s why the Ravens drafted Breshad Perriman last year. They wanted a speedy receiver that could stretch the field. While Perriman’s future remains a mystery, the need for speed has not changed. Big plays win big games.