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WR Upgrade May Boost Run Attack


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Obviously trading for **Anquan Boldin**, retainingDerrick Mason and signing **Donte' Stallworth** should help the Ravens' passing attack in 2010.

What gets forgotten in the equation is how those acquisitions could boost the other prong of the Ravens' offensive attack – the running game.

By improving the passing game, opposing defenses theoretically would have to commit more players to covering receivers. That means that without an extra safety creeping up near the line of scrimmage to stuff the run, there could be more room for **Ray Rice****Willis McGahee** and **Le'Ron McClain** to gallop.

"Now we get to spread them out a little bit so they gotta honor the pass and the run," McClain said. "It's just a great thing, man. It's just more power for this offense. Sky's the limit for us."

It's tough to be much more effective than the Ravens were at running the ball last year. They tied for first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (22), ranked fourth in rushing yards per attempt (4.7) and tied for fifth in average yards per game (137.5).

But, as Offensive Coordinator **Cam Cameron*** *said, adding more firepower at wide receiver certainly can't hurt.

"Any time your receivers are playing well, that should help your running game," Cameron said. "But we saw the benefits of that last year too."

Cameron said teams already completely changed the way they defended the Ravens from 2008, when quarterback **Joe Flacco** was a rookie, to 2009.

In 2008, Cameron said teams did everything they could to stop the run. Baltimore still led the NFL in rushing attempts per game with 37 and tallied the fourth-most average rushing yards per game at 148.5. But the Ravens tied for 21st in the league with a 4.0-yard average per carry. So, the efficiency wasn't where Cameron would like it.

This past season, Cameron said opposing defenses began the year once again seeing if Flacco could beat them. Two 300-plus-yard passing games, two offensive franchise records and three victories later, defensive coordinators got the message.

That success in the passing game early on opened up the running game and could provide a roadmap for what 2010 could bring. In October, following the 3-0 start, the Ravens rushers averaged 5.3 yards per carry, second-best in the league for the month.

"When you've got an efficient passing game and an efficient running game, you've got a well-balanced offense," Rice said. "With the receiving corps we have, with the guys we brought in, I don't see us not having a well-balanced offense."

Rice said he doesn't care if a bolstered wide receiver corps potentially means less carries for him. McClain, on the other hand, joked that he'd wants more touches now that there could be more room for him to rumble.

"I'm protesting it," McClain said. "I'm starting my campaign – McClain for running back."

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