The Ravens ground game is a problem they didn’t see coming

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14: Alex Collins #34 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by multiple Tennessee Titans players while running with the ball during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14: Alex Collins #34 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by multiple Tennessee Titans players while running with the ball during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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The ground game was the last thing the Baltimore Ravens worried about this offseason:

The Baltimore Ravens retooled their offense this season. They added weapons to the passing attack and a healthy Joe Flacco took a step up. The idea was to have a balanced attack. After all, the Ravens knew they could run the football. That’s not what has played out.

The 2017 Ravens were a horrible passing offense that had the 11th ranked rushing attack. The 2018 Ravens have one of the top 10 passing attacks in the NFL but they can’t run the football. The run game was supposed to improve. Why didn’t it?

The offensive line was supposed to be better with Marshal Yanda and Alex Lewis coming back from injury. Lewis hasn’t been great, and he has been especially problematic as a run blocker. The Ravens have trouble running to the left, so their inclination to run to the right is too obvious.

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Extra blockers haven’t helped. Tight ends haven’t been the answer to the ground game, especially when the scheme dictates they have to stretch out a bad angle for a block. The blocking has been for lack of a better word, a road block.

Alex Collins was supposed to have a monster season. The Ravens didn’t do much to improve at the running back position, so John Harbaugh and company obviously bought into what Collins brought to the table. Buck Allen is a solid running back, especially as a receiver out of the backfield. Ozzie Newsome probably felt his team was well equipped.

Gus Edwards and De’Lance Turner have potential but signing undrafted free agents is a poor contingency plan. Baltimore expected a balanced offense. On paper that’s what they were getting. In reality they just flipped their problems, but at least it’s a passing league.

The improved passing game was supposed to be something that helped the rushing attack. Instead defenses are glad to attack a one dimensional offense. The second the offense gets out of rhythm is the second the opponent knows they can win.

Lamar Jackson has been the Ravens best running back. Yes, the backup quarterback is having results better than that of Alex Collins and Buck Allen. Collins has 309 yards but averages 3.6 yards per rushing attempt. Jackson only has 103 yards but he picks up 5.1 yards per rushing attempt.

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Without Jackson, the run game has some rough statistics. The Ravens know it. That’s why the Jackson gimmicks are a big part of the game plan. The struggling run game is also why the Ravens have had 112 more pass attempts than rushing attempts. The Ravens don’t have an answer for their run game woes, because they never envisioned this being a problem.