The Baltimore Ravens’ signing of tight end Owen Daniels capped off one of the most impressive free-agency periods for an offense in rebuilding mode.
It also gained Steve Smith’s approval.
“I truly believe you can never have too many horses in the stable,” Smith said Thursday, via The Baltimore Sun. “You can never have too many fast cars in your garage.
Baltimore isn’t the only city stocking the stable with new horses.
Let’s take a look at the five most improved offenses since the end of the 2013 season:
Gregg Rosenthal did a great job of highlighting the big-play ability of an offense that now features one of the NFL’s fastest wide-receiver duos, a fine slot receiver, an athletic mismatch at tight end, a bulldozing running back and the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year at quarterback.
There’s still clean-up work to do on the offensive line, but that is mitigated by the presence of a Pro Bowl left tackle and two additions on the interior. Jay Gruden’s offense has the potential to leap from 23rd in scoring all the way to the top five.
A disappointment coming off a Super Bowl victory and a bank-breaking contract, Joe Flacco spent the majority of last season throwing to washed-up veterans and slippery-mitted fringe roster players. Now he has the luxury not only of a healthy Dennis Pitta, but also a chain-mover who has been one of the best receivers of his generation and a second tight end for Gary Kubiak’s offense. It also helps that left tackle Eugene Monroe will be protecting Flacco’s blindside for the entire season.
Before training training camp, the Ravens will have to follow through on coach John Harbaugh’s promise to overhaul a historically poor ground attack.
Vick adds legitimacy to Marty Mornhinwig’s offense. His injury history is less of a concern with Geno Smith as a capable backup with potential. Don’t be surprised if Decker produces the best statistical season by a Jets wide receiver since Laveranues Coles’ glory days. Ford is an intriguing flier if he’s finally over foot and knee injuries. I can’t get this dominant 2010 performance out of my mind, when Ford racked up 306 all-purpose yards in an overtime victory — followed up by 316 yards two weeks later.
The next step is adding speed in the form of Chris Johnson, who is expected to be release by the Titans on Friday or very early Monday morning. The Jets are widely viewed as the favorites for his services.
Baby steps. Greg Olson’s offense still boasts no Pro-Bowl caliber players in the prime of their careers, but Schaub is a theoretical upgrade — even if the expectations of Jones-Drew and coach Dennis Allen are downright fanciful. The offensive line has finally been solidified, and Jones immediately becomes the Raiders’ most accomplished wide receiver in nearly a decade.
For fit and value, Nicks was one of our favorite signings of the past month. That’s only a small reason for the Colts’ placement on this list, though. The offense is also welcoming back No. 1 receiver Reggie Wayne, future Pro-Bowl tight end Dwayne Allen, veteran running back Ahmad Bradshaw, young tailback Vick Ballard and starting guard Donald Thomas — all of whom missed at least half of last season.