Baltimore Ravens: It’s not really about the run-pass ratio

The Baltimore Ravens are going to run the football a lot. Don’t worry about the run-pass ratio:

The Baltimore Ravens build everything off their ground game. In 2018, the Ravens used the running game as a crutch as Lamar Jackson was getting by with an offense that was being built on the fly and was hindered by the absolute lack of creativity Marty Mornhinweg was known for. In 2019, the run game was used as the catalyst for one of the most exciting offensive attacks in NFL history, as the Ravens rushed for more yards in a season than any team ever had. The running game is important, there’s nothing new to report there.

One of the fears of the new Ravens season is that Greg Roman is going to skew his play calls more to the passing game. It is true that the Ravens have a little more talent in the passing game and that Jackson is expected to be a little further along in his evolution as a passer. It is true that the Tennessee Titans went all out to stop the run and it worked, sending Baltimore into a playoff mode of unrecognizable Ravens football. The growth of the passing game is surely a conversational talking point right now.

One thing to remember about Jackson is that he can get a lot of work done without a big number of passing attempts. He’s not a player that needs to throw it 40 times to get his numbers up. Jackson is an efficient passer, and the Ravens offense is built so that each pass is like a surgical slice of the football field. The Ravens set up opportunities for Jackson to win with his arm. That’s why Jackson led the league in touchdown passes but didn’t hover around 4,000 yards like the rest of the elite quarterbacks.

The truth is that if the Seattle Seahawks got as much from their running backs as the Ravens did,  Russell Wilson wouldn’t have thrown for over 4,000 yards. The point is that Wilson wouldn’t have to. You have to understand that when the running game picks up the numbers usually associated with the passing game it changes the output required from the passing game. It’s simple, not all that profound however it seems like people need a reminder.

If the Ravens pass the ball more in 2020 they could still use the same basic concept. It’s not about the run-pass ratio. Rather, it’s about keeping the efficiency of the offense. As a team the Ravens averaged over five yards per carry last season. Jackson averaged 7.8 yards per passing attempt and completed 66 percent of his passes. The Ravens converted on almost half of their third downs last year and only failed on seven of their 24 fourth down conversions. In the regular season they had 386 first downs and 64 touchdowns. This is the kind of success they need to recreate.

The Bottom Line:

If the Ravens maintain their efficiency it doesn’t matter whether the Ravens pass more or not. Jackson may have more passing attempts in the 2020 season but he’s not going to turn into a quarterback who needs 50 attempts passing to make a difference. The Ravens aren’t going to be a pass first team, no matter how prolific the passing game is.

Next: Analyzing the Ravens safeties post Earl Thomas release

The moral of the story is that we shouldn’t get caught up in a worry about the rushing attempts vs. the passing attempts. The Ravens have the most dangerous dual threat quarterback of all-time and four running backs. The run game is going to eat no matter what the passing attack does.