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Ravens Rushing Attack Needs 'Overhaul'

Posted Mar 1, 2014

After averaging a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry, big changes are likely coming.


Head Coach John Harbaugh made no bones about his commitment to changing the Ravens’ run game.

“I think the whole thing just needs an overhaul," Harbaugh told reporters at the combine.

“It was a myriad of things. We didn't block people well. We didn't move people. We didn't get on people. ... Our backs both weren’t 100 percent and they didn't make enough guys miss, didn’t break enough tackles.”

The Ravens have already taken steps towards reshaping the running attack, which averaged a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry last season.

The first, and perhaps most dramatic, change is the hiring of new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak. Kubiak brings a run-first mentality and zone-running scheme that has churned out 1,000-yard rushers throughout his coaching career in Denver and Houston.

The Ravens also changed running backs coaches, bringing in Thomas Hammock, a tough-minded and well-respected coach from the University of Wisconsin. He’ll breathe fresh air into the unit and employ Kubiak’s scheme.

In terms of personnel, the Ravens began with releasing fullback Vonta Leach, who saw less playing time on offense. It will be up to second-year fullback Kyle Juszczyk, a more versatile weapon, to take over the starting job.

Leach’s departure could be just the start of moves with the players involved.

With tackles Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher both pending unrestricted free agents, Baltimore could have new starters on the bookends. General Manager Ozzie Newsome also said they want to get bigger on the interior of the line, so that could mean changes at center and/or guard.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens will look to add at least one more running back to the offensive mix as well. Ray Rice, despite his recent legal troubles, and Bernard Pierce are both expected back. They will need more help next year, however.

“It doesn’t have to be a certain big guy, little guy, fast guy, slow guy. It’s all kinds of different types of backs,” Harbaugh said.  “We want to get a good guy with good vision, who will run hard and protect the football.”

Among the top running back performers at the combine was Kent State’s Dri Archer, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.26 seconds and came extremely close to breaking the Titans’ Chris Johnson’s record. Georgia Southern’s Jerick McKinnon was a top performer in every category. Towson’s Terrance West had a solid showing and said joining his hometown Ravens would be “amazing.”

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