Marc Trestman's first season as the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator was impressive, especially given the painful situation.
The Ravens produced the second-most yards in team history and set a franchise record in passing yards despite losing six starters to season-ending injuries. Baltimore finished No. 14 in offense even though quarterback Joe Flacco, wide receiver Steve Smith and running back Justin Forsett all ended up on injured reserve.
Now comes the encore for Trestman -- as well as heightened expectations.
"We’re going to be in much better shape, in terms of building the system from that standpoint, than we were the first year," coach John 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."
Trestman's track record suggests the bigger challenge is in Year 2. He has a history of elevating teams when he initially takes over the offense, but there are often struggles the next season.
In 1998, Trestman arrived in Arizona and guided the Cardinals' offense to the No. 13 ranking. The next year, the Cardinals dropped to No. 29.
In 2002, the Oakland Raiders led the NFL in offense after Trestman was promoted to offensive coordinator. The next year, the Raiders fell to No. 25.
In 2013, the Chicago Bears finished No. 8 in offense in Trestman's first season as head coach. The next year, the Bears plummeted to No. 21.
Baltimore is looking to reverse this trend. In Trestman's first season in Baltimore, he acknowledged that it was "unnatural" to take over a preexisting offense. He didn't make major changes to Gary Kubiak's system, and tried to adapt to it so the players wouldn't have to make a significant transition.
Trestman didn't have to play catch-up this offseason.
"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."
In addition to getting back the injured players, the Ravens added a deep threat (Mike Wallace) and an experienced tight end (Benjamin Watson) in free agency. In the draft, Baltimore brought in a franchise left tackle (Ronnie Stanley) along with another fast wide receiver (Chris Moore) and a running back with a nose for the end zone (Kenneth Dixon).
"I’m excited about where we’re going offensively," Harbaugh said. "I think we’re going to be really well-coached. We just have to build execution out here. We just have to come out here, get good, take care of our business and get good at what we’re doing."