Notes: 3 Starters at Running Back


Despite injuries to **Willis McGahee** and Ray Rice![](/team/roster/ray-rice/9d941a20-0c76-412d-85fd-165a029d59e6/ "Ray Rice"), along with the recent production of **Le’Ron McClain**


, the Ravens will continue to operate with their three-headed attack at running back.

Head coach **John Harbaugh** refused to name one from the trio a definite starter in his Monday press conference, taking a moment to clear up any misconceptions.

"That's how we've done it every week," Harbaugh said. "You guys [media] want us to name a starter and say, 'He's our No. 1 back.' We just don't do it that way – not right now. We've got three guys right now. They are our guys, and we believe in them.

"And the great thing is those guys believe in each other. Those guys have confidence in each other, and they pull for each other, too. "


McClain has paced the Ravens in rushing over the past three games. Beginning with a Nov. 23 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles, the 260-pound fullback has tallied 88, 86 and 61 yards, respectively. McClain also leads the team with eight touchdowns this year, with seven coming on the ground.

In last week's 24-10 win over the Washington Redskins, the punishing McClain wore out a stout run defense for 45 rushing yards in the fourth quarter alone.

"They couldn't stop me," McClain said after the game. "That's my mentality. When I'm getting up, I'm telling them that I'm coming back. That's what we did."

Meanwhile, McGahee found tough sledding against the Redskins, notching only 32 yards on 11 carries. He also lost a fumble and dropped a pass. But while some may classify McGahee's performance as disappointing, Harbaugh would disagree.

"I don't see it that way," the coach said. "Willis hammered it up in there. He had the one pitch thing, the wind took the thing and moved it about two feet, so he did the best he could with it.

"He's going to be fine."

McGahee, who has battled knee, rib, eye and ankle injuries this season, was removed in the fourth quarter with a shoulder stinger and a mild concussion, but seemed to be recovering Monday.

"He's OK," Harbaugh said. "He had a little stinger – a little tingling – but he's going to be fine."

Of course, the rookie Rice is yet another option to tote the football. He tops the team with 4.2 yards per carry, but left Sunday's Redskins game with a lower leg contusion.

Rice's status was classified as "day-to-day."

Surprise Call

Facing a critical fourth-and-1 situation in the third quarter of the Washington matchup, Ravens offensive coordinator **Cam Cameron** came up with one of the more interesting calls of the season.

Baltimore was on the Redskins' 43-yard line, and as quarterback Joe Flacco![](/team/roster/joe-flacco/3e20766f-6520-4ca1-9901-44389aaea8b8/ "Joe Flacco") set up in the pocket after a play fake, tight end **Todd Heap** fell to the turf.

But, it was a planned stumble. Heap then went from blocker to ghost, righting himself and sneaking out into the left flat, where Flacco delivered a floating pass that Heap took 24 yards into the red zone.

Recalling how the scenario unfolded on the sideline, Harbaugh smiled. He knew the defense would have to come up with a tough stop if the pass wasn't completed, especially considering the Ravens were at midfield.

"We're right around plus-40 territory, and I went back to the defense just to let them know, 'Hey, we're going for this thing,'" Harbaugh said. "They kind of looked at me and [said], 'Punt them down in there!'

"And I said, 'We're going for this thing, and you get them stopped if it doesn't work.'"

When it was time to snap the football, even the defense became fans.

"Then it was, 'Wait until you see this call,'" Harbaugh continued. "They all jumped off the bench, and they were watching. They couldn't believe it, either.

"Todd did a great job of executing it, as did Joe. That's Cam Cameron at his best."

Heap was excited about his role on the fourth-down conversion.

"You have to be an actor on that kind of play," Heap said with a grin. "It's a play that we've practiced somewhat this year, but you only pull it out for certain occasions. Fourth-and-1, they were definitely not expecting that play."


Safety **Jim Leonhard** has been used as a pass rusher in defensive coordinator **Rex Ryan**'s attacking scheme. At only 5-foot-8, 186 pounds, Leonhard may not have ideal size to bring down the quarterback, but he's had success. Last week, he blitzed often, rattling Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell on multiple occasions. "Jim is a really good athlete," said Harbaugh. "He can run, he can jump. I think he had a batted ball in the game. He's athletic. He gets there quickly." … In the first quarter, Ray Lewis![](/team/roster/ray-lewis/1c6d5ed3-fe49-4a89-a6b5-9e358e906ae7/ "Ray Lewis")


sacked Campbell for a 13-yard loss, and the ball popped loose. But, it was not ruled a fumble because Campbell's forward momentum had already caused officials to blow the play dead. Harbaugh could not challenge, but the coach did not express disappointment. "When they rule it dead, when they determine that they've blown the whistle because forward progress has been stopped, then there's no challenge about possession," he stated. "So basically, he's down by forward progress. He's down by the whistle at that point, so you can't challenge that."

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