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Ray Rice Running Trends Nothing New

Posted Nov 7, 2012

The Ravens have trended towards running the ball more in Nov., Dec. and Jan. for years.


The cries for more emphasis on the running game are nothing new in Baltimore.

But the Ravens’ run/pass formula so far this year is nothing new either – both in terms of winning games and keeping running back Ray Rice fresh.

The Ravens’ history over the past three years has shown that the team has always aired it out more in the first half and turned up the number of runs in the second.

2009

Flacco Passes (avg. per game)

Rice Rushes (avg. per game)

1st Half

282 (35.3)

108 (13.5)

2nd Half

217 (27.1)

146 (18.3)

2010

Flacco Passes

Rice Rushes

1st Half

263 (32.9)

153 (19.1)

2nd Half

226 (28.3)

154 (19.3)

2011

Flacco Passes

Rice Rushes

1st Half

309 (38.6)

133 (16.6)

2nd Half

233 (29.1)

158 (19.8)

 Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron doesn’t want to wear Rice out, particularly at the start of the year.

It’s something Cameron has been attune to throughout his career. He helped LaDainian Tomlinson play for 11 seasons and was his coordinator during five of his best years. He coached 31-year-old Willis McGahee, who is still producing for the Denver Broncos, for three seasons in Baltimore.

There’s a balance of giving plenty of carries to your bell cow running back and using him too much. And Cameron wants to keep his running backs fresh for the stretch run.

“It’s a fine line, because it’s a long season and no one takes hits like those running backs do – no one,” Cameron said. “When you see those guys after a 25-carry game or a 30-carry game, they are not the same on Wednesday and Thursday. So, we need to get him the ball more. But also, as you’re writing that, write the rest: within reason, the game plan.”

Before the game in Cleveland, Rice talked about how fresh he feels as the Ravens rev up for the final playoff push.

“Obviously, this is the healthiest I’ve felt in a while,” Rice said. “I’m looking forward to a nice workload the second half of the season."

Rice currently ranks 11th in the NFL in touches this season with 162 (131 rushes, 31 receptions). So if he’s going to reach his highs of the previous years, he’s got ground to make up.

But history suggests he’ll get there or close, as he’s ranked in the top three the past two seasons, and top six in 2009.

“We’ll add them all up at the end of the year, but my bet will be that he’ll be, if not leading the league in yards or touches, he’ll be one of the top five,” Cameron said of Rice’s touches last week. “And that’s our plan, because it’s obviously a 16-game season.”

NFL Touches Rankings

2011

2010

2009

Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) - 386

Arian Foster (HOU) - 393

Chris Johnson (TEN) - 408

Ray Rice (BAL) - 367

Steven Jackson (STL) - 376

Seven Jackson (STL) - 375

Ray Rice (BAL) - 370

Maurice Jones-Drew (JAc) - 365

Adrian Peterson (MIN) - 357

Thomas Jones (NYJ) - 341

Ray Rice (BAL) - 332

 Rice saw 25 carries and two receptions in Cleveland last week. And he’ll be facing a Raiders defense Sunday that just surrendered 251 rushing yards and four touchdowns to Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin, a player in the same mold of Rice.

The Raiders run defense ranks 21st in the NFL overall, allowing an average of 124.1 rushing yards per game. So Rice could be in line for another heavy load Sunday afternoon. He took notice of what Martin did to the Raiders.

“Obviously, you look at it, and you do start getting excited when you see it happening,” Rice said. “First off, you want to know what happened – why these kind of things happen. After looking at the film, it was just a lot of them missing tackles.”

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