As the Ravens look to rebuild a running game that finished last season ranked 30th in the NFL, bringing in new running backs to complement the current options is part of the gameplan.
"We're looking for more backs," Head Coach John Harbaugh said during an interview at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "We're going to add some backs."
Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce both struggled last season, as Rice averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry and Pierce finished with 2.9 yard per run. They both dealt with* *injuries during the season, which limited their production.
Rice is also dealing with off-the-field issues following his recent arrest, but Harbaugh stressed that the desire to bring in new running backs is independent of the Rice situation.
"That's unrelated," Harbaugh said. "I just don't feel like two runners [last season] was enough. The circumstances kind of led us to that with our roster. We never felt like we wanted just two runners. We definitely need three, and it could be four of them."
The Ravens had periods last season where there were three running backs on the roster, as Shaun Draughn and Bernard Scott both spent time on the 53-man squad. But they were mostly special teamers and emergency options in the backfield, where the Ravens want more running backs to actually carry the ball.
As the Ravens look at the draft and free agency to bolster their backfield, finding a back that matches a particular rushing style isn't necessarily at the top of the priority list.
"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. Ray can do it. Bernard can do it."
New Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak has a track record of getting high productivity out of his running backs, and he has stressed that the key to his offense is first establishing the run. Harbaugh has also emphasized the importance of getting the running game back on track after the disappointment of last season.
"I think the whole thing just needs an overhaul," Harbaugh said. "It was a myriad of things, we say it all the time. We didn't block people well. We didn't move people. We didn't get on people. We didn't cut off the back side well enough. … We just didn't get the job done."