Baltimore Ravens' Week 1 Win Highlights Their Most Important Offseason Move

Stephen GillamContributor IIISeptember 12, 2012

Joe Flacco needs a big season soon, and this is his best chance.
Joe Flacco needs a big season soon, and this is his best chance.Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens issued a statement to the rest of the league when they beat the Cincinnati Bengals 44-13.

To put a bit of perspective on that, the Ravens scored more points than the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles combined. No one would have expected that in the first week.

And it's not like they beat some nuffies in a dead rubber either. The Bengals were a playoff team last season, with a defense ranked fifth in sacks per game, seventh in total yards per game, ninth in points per game and top 10 in most other meaningful defensive stats.

Many fans saw a Ravens' win in the entrails of their dead pigeons (or whatever other way the kids tell the future these days), but a win that convincing did come as a pleasant surprise.

Naturally, everyone's quick to herald this as the year Joe Flacco makes his breakout, and while he needs some more convincing wins to prove his elite status, if this isn't the year he makes it big, I don't know when he will.

One factor that does seem slightly overlooked, however, is the quiet addition of Jim Caldwell as the quarterbacks coach.

For those not in the know, he used to work with some guy called Peyton back in the day.

It's already been noted by our friends in Atlanta what a new coach can do for you, and I think Caldwell is that final component Flacco needed to realise his potential.

With this season's shift to a no-huddle offense, there's no one better to help Flacco take the game on himself than the guy that previously helped Peyton Manning terrorise the AFC in a similar way.

Whether this will win the Ravens a Super Bowl or even a division title is too early to say. After all, this Bengals team hasn't beaten a play-off calibre side for some time (although the Tennessee Titans did come close last season), and you can argue that the score was exaggerated by some big defensive plays that may not come every week.

But the reality is, with Jim Caldwell helping Joe Flacco out on his contract year, if he can't cement his elite status this season he will have a mighty hard time doing so in the future.