Ravens ready to unveil an offense that's been cloaked in mystery

CINCINNATI -- The Baltimore Ravens played four preseason games, spent over 100 hours on the practice field in training camp and snapped the ball over 1,000 times this summer.

Yet the Ravens still don't know what to expect from their offense because of injuries. Sunday's season opener will finally be the moment when Baltimore gets to unveil an attack that has had an air of mystery about it.

For the first time, Joe Flacco will throw passes in a game, after the starting quarterback was sidelined all training camp and preseason with a back injury. For the first time, the projected starting offensive line will line up together. For the first time, all three of Baltimore's wide receivers -- Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman -- will suit up for a game.

Even though the Ravens' starting offense hasn't had much practice time together, Flacco believes the vision is clear.

"We want to go out there, and we want to run the ball, and we want to hurt people down the field and put points on the board," Flacco said. "Just because we have a couple of new guys and there have been some injuries and things like that, your expectations do not change. The expectation is to go out there and play winning football. That is, to go out there and put as many points on the board until the 60 minutes are up."

This has been an offseason of change for Baltimore's offense. After ranking No. 21 in points scored last season (21.4 per game), the Ravens' offense has six new starters.

Maclin was signed to fill the void left by Steve Smith Sr., who retired after the season.

Center Ryan Jensen and right tackle Austin Howard replace two three-year starters in Jeremy Zuttah (who was cut) and Rick Wagner (who signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency). James Hurst takes over at left guard after Alex Lewis suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

Nick Boyle took advantage of being the only tight end to remain healthy and stepped into the starting role for Dennis Pitta, who was released after sustaining his third injury to his right hip in five years.

And undrafted rookie defensive lineman Patrick Ricard is the surprise replacement at fullback for Kyle Juszczyk, who signed with the San Francisco 49ers in free agency.

In addition to all the personnel changes, the injuries to Flacco, Perriman (hamstring), left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) and running back Danny Woodhead (hamstring) and the late signing of Howard haven't allowed Baltimore to see its offense at full strength.

How does coach John Harbaugh have confidence in his offense when he hasn't seen it in a game?

"I believe in our scheme, our guys," Harbaugh said. "Teams rise up, and they're better than people thought they'd be. So, you don't have to justify it beforehand. You just go and play the games. That's your justification, to see how you'll do. So, we're ready to compete, we're excited and we can't wait."

Offense has been a problem for the Ravens since winning the Super Bowl. These are Baltimore's rankings in points scored over the past four seasons: 25th, 8th, 25th and 21st.

Flacco and the Ravens know that needs to improve if they want to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

"If our offensive line plays solid and lets our backs and receivers go do their work, gives them time to do those things -- and the way our defense is playing -- we will be tough to beat," Flacco said.