By Sean Whooley
Former NFL wide receiver/special teams player and current CBS NFL analyst Steve Tasker said he was impressed by the Ravens' suffocating defense during the team's 20-0 win against the Cincinnati Bengals Sept. 10, but he isn't jumping to any conclusions about the Ravens until quarterback Joe Flacco and the rest of the offense impress, too.
"I saw [the Ravens] in Week 3 of the preseason, when they played the Bills, and we knew then that the defense was going to be really good," Tasker said during an interview on
Glenn Clark Radio
Sept. 12. "It looks like it's translating over into the regular season. All that's going to be left for Flacco and the offense to do is hold their end of the bargain up."
The Ravens' offense was underwhelming against the Bengals. Flacco went 9-for-17 for 121 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He didn't complete a pass during the second half.
For the Bengals, star wide receiver A.J. Green managed 74 yards receiving, and while it was far from Green's best game, Tasker thought the playmaker provided a look into the Ravens' lack of a game-changing player on offense.
"Joe can throw it to anybody, it doesn't really matter, but you want a guy that scares the defense and really gives you a chance in a game where you do give up some big plays," said Tasker, who will call the Ravens' Week 2 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. "You need to find somebody like that who is capable of the big play."
The Ravens have brought in several receivers the past few seasons in an attempt to establish a big-play threat, including Breshad Perriman, who was taken during the first round of the 2015 draft, and veterans Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin, who were signed in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
It remains to be seen if any of them can fill that role, but Tasker believes it isn't all on the receivers. He said big plays would be more common for the Ravens if Flacco was more innovative.
"He's not going to be one of the guys that creates a play," Tasker said. "The play that's called has to work. If that's not working, then your offense is going to struggle."
For now, it appears the Ravens will have to rely on the defense while the offense figures itself out. Tasker mentioned the 2013 Seattle Seahawks and 2015 Denver Broncos as examples of Super Bowl-winning teams carried by their defenses in recent years.
But, if teams find ways to negate the Ravens' strong suit, they could be in trouble.
"Sooner or later, the offense is going to have to carry the load some time, so you've got to start working on it," Tasker said. "If it's not clicking the way you want it to, you've got to find a way to fix that. Certainly, they will."
For more from Tasker, listen to the full interview here: