One of the worst red zone offenses last season, the Baltimore Ravens have shown great efficiency inside the 20-yard line this preseason. While it's too early to make any definitive statements about Gary Kubiak's new-look offense, the numbers suggest a reversal of fortune might be in store in the red zone.
In two preseason games, the Ravens have scored four touchdowns in six red zone trips, a 66.6 percent success rate. Flacco and the first-team offense are perfect, reaching the end zone on both of their possessions inside the 20.
This is a drastic shift from last season, when the Ravens scored touchdowns on 46.2 percent of their red zone trips. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars were worse at 43.9 percent.
"It’s easy to say you’re getting better in practice or even in the preseason, but you have to go out there and make it happen," Smith said. "There is one week you might go perfect; the next week you might need [kicker Justin] Tucker the whole time. So, you have to go out there and get it done.”
Kubiak's offense has a track record of being efficient in the red zone. In his eight seasons in Houston, the Texans ranked No. 11 in red zone efficiency (53.6 percent).
The touchdown pass to Smith was a little unusual for a Kubiak offense. A majority of the Texans' scoring throws have gone to tight ends since 2011.
Over the past three seasons, 23 of the Texans' 39 red zone touchdown passes have went to Owen Daniels (9), Garrett Graham (6), Joel Dreessen (4), James Casey (3), Ryan Griffin (1). That's a 58.9 percent clip.
In other words, Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta should draw interest from fantasy football owners.