Life without Nick Boyle: The impact on the Ravens offense

Ravens, Nick Boyle (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Ravens, Nick Boyle (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens will be without Nick Boyle for the rest of the season. Here is how they may get by:

The Baltimore Ravens injuries are creating problems, and Nick Boyle’s injury makes a huge problem for the offense. Boyle is the primary blocking tight end while Mark Andrews is the primary receiving tight end. That means you can’t really think of Boyle as a number two tight end. The Ravens had two starters at the position who did different things.

Mark Andrews isn’t going to be the answer to picking up the slack in Boyle’s more selfless tasks on the offense. Andrews is who he is; if he’s not humming along as a receiving option that’s a problem. He’s not the blocker that Boyle is and trying to make him fit into that peg would take away from what he can do as Lamar Jackson‘s best target.

The Ravens will shuffle tight ends into the active roster. One or two of them may stick along throughout the year. None of them are Boyle. The most important thing to remember here is that Boyle was important to the Ravens because versatile tight ends like him have always been hard to find. Boyle was great at what he did.

The key now is that the Ravens have to find a tight end that can do an adequate job. Something that may not live up to Boyle’s impact in the run game but at least does the trick, helping Baltimore pick up a few extra yards. Pat Ricard will get more snaps on the field as well; he is the primary extra helper for the offensive line.

What I would do is come up with a package with an extra offensive tackle and an unbalanced offensive line. It would essentially give you the same math in the running game it just wouldn’t supply you an extra option in the passing game.

It also could help the Ravens with the fact that D.J. Fluker isn’t great at right tackle. An extra offensive lineman, masquerading as a second tight end, would be a less versatile chess piece than Boyle, but as long as the package doesn’t take over the offense it could be a nice idea.

One thing that may happen is that the Ravens could have a more opened up offense. If the Ravens spread the offense out it could have some benefits. Stopping the Ravens would be less about plugging holes in the run game and doing the predictable things. As long as the Ravens don’t forget the run game, spreading the defense out could work to their advantage.

If the Ravens go this route they must make use of quick strikes in the passing attack. The less protection that is built into a play-call the more the offensive line gets exposed. Boyle didn’t just block for the run game.

This could however be, what inadvertently be the thing that gets more use of the receivers. Marquise Brown and Devin Duvernay have a ton of speed. An offense the prioritizes getting them the ball quickly and letting them take off is a very interesting offense to imagine. It’s what Ravens fans expected coming into the season and not exactly what they got.

The bottom line:

The Ravens won’t have major sweeping changes to the offense. They will need another tight end to step up. They will depend more on Pat Ricard doing the dirty work at fullback and, they’ll probably open up the offense a bit more. What you’re most likely to see is that having Boyle made life a lot easier for the Ravens.

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The passing game will get by without Boyle much more than the run game. Boyle only had 14 receptions this season (in comparison to Andrews’s 33) yet there could be a little more space for other targets.

Baltimore may have to throw the ball a bit more and have less of a bunched up offense. It’s going to be interesting. This offense won’t work the same way, yet it will for the same type of offense. Baltimore will do the same things, they’ll just have to change their tendencies and how they do certain things.