Ravens Will Prioritize Boosting the Passing Game, Deflect Critism

Baltimore had league's 32nd-ranked aerial attack.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It's no secret the Ravens need to boost the passing attack this offseason.

Baltimore ranked last in the NFL averaging 171.2 yards passing per game.

The weakness was magnified in the playoffs, especially in a 17-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round,

The wide receivers struggled to get open and Lamar Jackson completed just 14 of 24 passes for 162 yards with an interception that was returned 101 yards for a touchdown (61.5 rating). 

"Lamar Jackson has won a lot of football games here. Our offense has won us a lot of football games here," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in his postseason news conference on Jan. 20. "We're not apologizing for that for one second. We are going to improve it, no question about it. We're going to work to make it more precise, more efficient."

The Ravens will look to boost the passing attack with the further development of the players on the current roster, through the draft and via free agency.

There are several dynamic wide receivers that are unrestricted free agents, including Allen Robinson, A.J. Green. T.Y. Hilton and Sammy Watkins. 

The Ravens will be weighing all of their options. 

"It depends on who you are going to get and what's the cost and whether he wants to be here," Harbaugh said. "I think a big, physical receiver would be awesome for us. We can use anybody who is talented and good.”

The Ravens have taken criticism from NFL analysts, such as Steve Smith and Kurt Warner, that the routes among the wide receivers are too simplistic. Harbaugh defended the team's strategy and playcalling.

"The passing tree, we run all the routes on the passing tree. We throw it less than most teams do because we run it so well," Harbaugh said.  "We're not going to be as complex as Pittsburgh, who throws the ball 40 times a game. That stands to reason."

General manager Eric DeCosta will be looking to add playmakers amid restrictions with the 2021 salary cap and the revenue fallout from COVID-19. The NFL is still working out the details of how much teams can spend this year.

The Ravens' offensive line also needs to do a better job with pass blocking. Jackson endured numerous coverage sacks throughout the season.

Baltimore had the league's top rushing attack, but the players concede the team needs more balance. 

"Whenever you’re the No. 1 rushing [offense] and the [No. 32] passing [offense], that’s not right," wide receiver Marquise Brown said. "That’s not balanced. So, we’ve got to find a way to balance our game. Even with our great rushing attack, we’ve got to be able to throw the ball, we’ve got to be able to move the ball through the air, and that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on and continue to try to implement into the offense more.”