Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer 73d

Ravens getting exactly what they (didn't) pay for with stumbling offense

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens have managed only 60 points through their first four games, the fewest in the first quarter of a season in the 10-year John Harbaugh-Joe Flacco era.

Should anyone be surprised?

Baltimore didn't sign a veteran starter on offense until 94 days into free agency. The Ravens didn't draft an offensive skill position player for the first time in in their 22-year history.

The Ravens' top playmaker on offense has been running back Alex Collins, who wasn't on the season-opening roster. Their top receiver is Ben Watson, a 36-year-old tight end who is coming off an Achilles injury. And their offensive line includes three undrafted rookies and a former sixth-round pick.

In many ways, the Ravens are getting exactly what they invested in their offense this offense -- which was very little compared to the defensive side of the ball.

"Listen, we definitely have the ability to be productive, and no matter what anybody thinks," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "We’re all we have right now, so we’re going to go out there, and we’re going to make it happen."

Baltimore had several holes to fill from an offense that finished No. 21 in scoring last season (21.4 points per game). Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. retired, Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk and right tackle Rick Wagner signed big-money deals elsewhere and tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a season-ending hip injury in offseason workouts.

In free agency, the Ravens signed wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, running back Danny Woodhead, offensive tackle Austin Howard and backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. That was a total of $15.75 million in guaranteed money, which is dwarfed by the $56.75 million given to the defense.

In the draft, Baltimore used five of its seven picks on defense. In the third round, the Ravens selected defensive end Chris Wormley (No. 74) and linebacker Tim Williams (No. 78) instead of running back Kareem Hunt (No. 86), who went to the Kansas City Chiefs and now leads the NFL in rushing.

As a result, the Ravens rank second-to-last in the NFL in scoring (15 points per game) and total yards (269.7). Baltimore was shut out in the first half in back-to-back games for just the second time under Harbaugh. And the Ravens have produced more turnovers on offense (nine) than touchdowns (seven).

"On offense, we laid an egg," Maclin said after Sunday's 26-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. "That’s kind of been the story. Something has to get better there."

Injuries have played a big part in the Ravens' problems on offense. Pitta, who led all tight ends with 86 catches last season, was lost in an offseason workout. Running back Kenneth Dixon sustained a season-ending knee injury just before the start of training camp, and starting left guard Alex Lewis tore a labrum in his shoulder during camp and was placed on injured reserve.

When the regular season began, Woodhead hurt his hamstring on the opening drive (although he should return) and Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda fractured his ankle in Week 2.

“It’s always frustrating when you can’t score points. With the talent that we have on offense, it’s crazy," wide receiver Mike Wallace said. "We have so many players and so many weapons -- we’re just not making plays. We just have to find a way. A quarter of the season is gone and our offense just hasn’t found ways to make plays. I know that we will. I’m more than confident that we will. We’ve got to find a way to do it. We’ve got to get it going."

There are increasing questions about offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg as well as Harbaugh's decision to keep him at the end of last season.

The Ravens ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in rushing (29th), third-down efficiency (21st), red-zone efficiency (19th) and scoring (18th) after Mornhinweg took over for Marc Trestman for the final 11 games of the season.

Parting ways with an offensive coordinator has happened before in Baltimore. Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron 13 games into the 2012 season and removed Marc Trestman five games in last season.

Asked what changes need to happen to get the Ravens' offense back on track, Harbaugh said, "You’re not going to make a bunch of changes. You just have to improve."

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