The Ravens offense will improve this season, according to the Ravens.
After losing former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to the Broncos last offseason, the Ravens ranked 14th in yards gained and 25th in points scored. Under Kubiak's direction in 2014, the Ravens finished 12th in yards and eighth in points. Injuries certainly played a role in the offense's demise -- both Joe Flacco and Steve Smith missed significant time -- so the team's hope for improvement isn't unfounded. Plus, as offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and head coach John Harbaugh noted, they're expecting to improve because Trestman will be entering his second year as the coordinator.
Here's Trestman discussing Year 2, per the Ravens' website:
"It's a little unnatural when you [first] come in, and there is a pre-existing offense in place," Trestman said at last week's minicamp. "It was a very good offense, as we all know. But I spent three months on it, trying to make sure that I simulated the things that were necessary for me to do my job."
"Coming into it a day after the season is over, you feel you are in a lot better position, because you aren't using those 90 days out of 120 to learn another offense," Trestman said. "It's the offense you know now."
And here's Harbaugh talking up Trestman's second year:
"We're going to be in much better shape, in terms of building the system from that standpoint than we were the first year," Harbaugh said. "Now the system is more [Trestman's] than it was last year. I think it's more ours than it was last year."
"We have a lot of confidence in what we're doing," Harbaugh said. "We're excited about what we built into it, and Marc Trestman is the main architect of that because he's the offensive coordinator, and he's really very well equipped to do that."
OK, so now that we got the offseason-y quotes out of the way, let's discuss the validity of those remarks. The Ravens believe their offense will improve because Trestman is more comfortable as the architect of the offense. In theory, that makes sense. Players won't be learning a new system and the offense should be able to grow as a result of the established relationship between the players and coaches. Again, that's all in theory, which is important to note.
According to Trestman's history as a coordinator and head coach, improvements aren't coming to Baltimore this year.
From 1998 to 2000, Trestman served as the Cardinals' offensive coordinator. In his first season, the Cardinals ranked 13th in yards and 15th in points. In his second season, they ranked 29th and 30th in those respective categories. In this third season, the offense pretty much maintained its level of play (24th and 29th).
From 2002-2003, Trestman acted as the Raiders' offensive coordinator. In Year 1 under Trestman, the Raiders ranked first in yards and second in points. In Year 2, they ranked 25th and 26th.
Finally, in 2014, Trestman landed his first head coaching job in the NFL with the Bears. And in his debut, his offense -- led by Jay Cutler and Josh McCown -- surprisingly set the league on fire, finishing as the eighth-best offense in terms of yards and the second-best in terms of scoring. A year later, Trestman was shown the door after his offense finished 21st in yards and 23rd in scoring.
In fact, the only time Trestman did not experience a sharp Year 2 decline came in 1995 and 1996, when the 49ers offense he coordinated remained one of the top offenses in the league (led by Steve Young). All of this doesn't mean the Ravens offense will stink in 2016 -- because of some horrible injury luck last year the offense should improve this year -- it just means the Ravens' claim that a second season under Trestman will automatically lead to success isn't necessarily rooted in reality.
Unless, of course, Mike Wallace turns into Antonio Brown.