For years, the most dominant force on the Baltimore Ravens’ offense was the run game. After signing running back Ray Rice in 2008, the Ravens utilized him as a weapon on the field. With 6,180 rushing yards and three Pro Bowl nods in the past six seasons, Rice has become one of the most notable running backs in the game.
But the 2013 season presented an obstacle in Rice’s career. He finished the season with only 660 yards. Just two seasons ago, Rice more than doubled that number, ending the 2011 season with 1,364 yards.
As the Ravens fell to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17, their playoff hopes fell, too. While the Ravens will watch another team take the Super Bowl title that they have held for the past year, the players, coaches, and personnel will all be focused on the 2014 season and how to finish with a better record, as well as a spot in the postseason.
The first aspect that needs the most attention is the run game.
“To say we’re disappointed in the run game, no doubt,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “The history of this franchise has been our ability to run the football. Especially in the AFC North with the type of defenses that you face, you have to have the ability to run the football. We think that’s a friend to the quarterback when you have that ability, and that’s one of the things that we’ve already started to work on.”
Head coach John Harbaugh met with all members of the Ravens’ organization that deal with the run game to assess the current situation and to find ways to improve in 2014. Ozzie Newsome followed up with those members individually to ensure that Ravens fans will see more from the running backs next season.