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Ravens Roost


February 13, 2010 9:22 AM

The Ravens have decisions at Running Back

rice, mcgahee.jpg There were many times last season when I wondered what was going through the minds of John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron. In 2008 the team flourished by using their three headed monster running attack, but last season it became a one headed monster for most of the year.

The Ravens have to decide if they're going to take that same approach in 2010, or intend on doing things a little differently.


I couldn't figure out why Willis McGahee was riding the bench save for first and goal situations. In 2008 McGahee came into camp out of shape and proceeded to injure himself under game conditions. That put him in Harbaugh's doghouse for much of the latter part of the season. But this year McGahee came into camp in shape and with a very positive attitude. Still it seems that wasn't enough to buy his way out of the doghouse.

In my opinion the offense relied on Ray Rice far too much this year, not that he didn't do an unbelievable job. But giving Rice 40 touches a game didn't make sense. He isn't the biggest back in football and all that exposure increased his odds of sustaining a serious injury, which thank goodness he didn't. But why overload Rice when you have a perfectly good back sitting on the bench? It doesn't seem like a very smart plan of attack if you ask me.

During his 2008 season many fans were calling for McGahee's head. People were saying it was time to get rid of him, he cost too much money and was through they protested. I think McGahee heard the grumblings and had enough pride to come back this season with a whole new attitude. Why he didn't get a serious chance to redeem himself can only be answered by Harbaugh and Cameron.

The loss of Lorenzo Neal at fullback changed the teams running philosophy to some extent. This season LeRon McLain had to assume more of a traditional fullback's duties, which took away most of his opportunity to touch the ball. That should have been even more reason to give McGahee serious playing time. To me it would have made sense to use both McGahee and Rice in tandem with Rice receiving around 60% of the touches. Two fresh running backs will wear down a defense quicker then one overworked one every time.

It will be interesting to see this offseason if McGahee is still in the Ravens plans. In an uncapped season his salary won't have the same impact as it did, so that shouldn't play into the teams decision to either keep him or let him go. It could be that the team is high on Jalen Parmele and think he can step up to fill McGahee's shoes.  But if that's the case then why not mix Parmele into the rotation as well? Once again the team would have a three headed monster to use in the backfield, and defenses would be winded trying to keep up with the constant running assault. Sounds like a plan to me.

 


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