In 2009, the Ravens had a quarterback that threw for over 3,600 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his second season.
They had a running back who was second in the league in total yards from scrimmage, another running back who posted 14 total touchdowns, and a Pro Bowl fullback.
They had a wide receiver who quietly topped the 1,000 yards receiving mark and a veteran tight end who put up nearly 600 receiving yards and grabbed six touchdowns.
They had a young, athletic offensive line that for most of the year was strong both in pass protection and in the running game.
This offseason, things have only gotten better.
GM Ozzie Newsome added to that core group, bringing in two receivers - a three-time Pro Bowl receiver who adds a physical element to the passing game, and a talented, speedy receiver with plenty to prove.
Oh yeah, the pieces are there. And those in The Castle are noticing.
Asked yesterday if this is the most complete offense on paper that he’s played on in his 13-year career, Derrick Mason made sure to give a shout-out to the 2006 Ravens squad before responding in the affirmative.
“On paper, yeah, I think so - not taking away from anybody else or any other team that we’ve had,” Mason said.
Of course, games are won and lost between the white lines, not between the margins. Mason is well aware of this fact.
“Right now, yeah, we are a complete team on paper, but we have to make it happen on the field,” he says. “Everything looks good on paper at the beginning of the season, but unless you put in the time and effort that it takes to make your team go, ‘on paper’ means nothing, because when you get on that field it doesn’t work.
“You can go all the way back to... You think of the Redskins when they acquired all these guys several years ago, that on paper they were a great team. It just didn’t work out because they didn’t mesh. But, with this team, we mesh. It’s great on paper.
“So hopefully, and truly I have a lot of confidence that when we go out on the field that presence will be felt from the offense as well as the defense and the special teams unit.”