Ravens Working On New Ideas For Rushing Attack And Want To See More Of Kenneth Dixon


Six yards.

That's what the Ravens' rushing attack mustered in a 24-16 loss to the New York Jets Sunday, setting a franchise-low for futility in that area.

Just when it looked like Baltimore's rushing attack had found its legs, it fell flat entering the bye. And now Head Coach John Harbaugh said the team is "going to be looking at it a lot."

"The next two days we have some ideas we've been working on. This will be an opportunity to try some things," Harbaugh said.

"If it becomes some other thing we can add to the mix, some things we take out, that's what you do in the bye week. But we have to get it going. There's no question about it. That's not even close. That's not even where we're going to be."

But don't expect an overhaul of the running game.

The Ravens rumbled for 98 yards on the ground the week before against the New York Giants and 118 yards in Week 5 versus the Washington Redskins.

Terrance West did have a 52-yard carry called back during the Jets matchup due to a holding penalty on left tackle Alex Lewis. That would have given the rushing game a different look.

"We're not going to have some big, monstrous change in what we're doing," Harbaugh said. "We believe in the things we're doing. We just want to do them better, game-plan them better, scheme them better, block them better and all of those sorts of things."

One of the changes could be getting rookie fourth-round running back Kenneth Dixon more involved. Dixon had just one carry for zero yards Sunday in New York. He caught one pass for a 1-yard loss.

In three games since returning from a preseason knee injury, Dixon has six rushes for 10 yards and three receptions for 6 yards. That's not as much as the Ravens hoped for after Dixon led the team in rushing during the preseason and flashed a lot of promise.

"I would like to see Kenneth Dixon play more," Harbaugh said. "He is young, in terms of pass protection stuff, for sure. So sometimes it is a little harder to get him out the field when you are going no-huddle. That probably is part of it."

The run-pass balance was yet again a question Monday after quarterback Joe Flacco handed the ball off just 10 times and threw it 44 times.

Harbaugh said "I want to run the ball more than 10 times," but it's not that simple.

Harbaugh went through each play call with Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg on the train ride home from New York to see if he would have done it differently. Fired Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman was criticized for not sticking with the run game.

On Sunday in New York, it wasn't a case of the ground game getting going and the Ravens just not riding it, as was the case against the Redskins. Versus a stout Jets front, the Ravens averaged just 1.3 yards per carry from West, and Lorenzo Taliaferro and Dixon both gained no yardage on their one carry each.

"If you were the play-caller, I don't know how you could have called runs," Harbaugh said. "Each one of those first and second downs, he called a run. Either the first down or the second down, he called a run. They both got stuffed."

Harbaugh wants to run the ball more because it's part of a team mentality, but also because it's a sign that the Ravens are winning. The debate is whether running the ball leads to more winning or is a symptom of winning.

High rushing totals are often the result of protecting a lead, picking up first downs and thus giving more total plays, and getting short-yardage situations where a team can pass or run. In too many third-and-long situations because running didn't work on first- or second-down, Baltimore had few opportunities to run and still hope to move the chains Sunday in New York.

"Yes, we need to run the ball more. Yes, you are right, it has to do with the situation in the game. It also has to do with running the ball well," Harbaugh said.

"When we are running the ball more, we will be a winning football team. There is no doubt about it."

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