Remember last year?
The Ravens punished opponents with a blistering run game, with not one but three running backs. They rode these backs to the fourth best running game in the league. Fast forward to this year, where's Le'Ron McClain and Willis McGahee ? Well, McClain now plays the role of a more conventional fullback in the offense.
And for McGahee? He was a touchdown machine in the first quarter of the season leading the league with six touchdowns. But since then he's failed to get a grass stain on his jersey.
Rice has quickly developed into a very complete back. He has great hands coming out of the backfield. He can run between the tackles or quickly get around the corner on outside runs. And although he's only 5'8'', he can block exceptionally well.
Rice has created a new wrinkle in the rejuvenated Baltimore offense, forcing defenses to be well aware of him on every play. His height makes it difficult to see him through Baltimore's massive line. Even when defenders spot him, he rarely gets dragged to the turf on the first attempt.
Ask Minnesota how tough it is to tackle number 27. He shredded the Vikings defense, racking up 77 yards rushing on 10 attempts and 117 yards receiving on 10 receptions. He routinely made the first guy miss, sometimes even the second, third, and fourth. But this all went in a losing effort.
Rice has certainly exceeded my expectations for him going into this season. But there's no telling the limit to his potential. I don't see him being a one year wonder, it looks like he's here to stay. What does this mean for McGahee and McClain? As the season goes on I expect to see more of them. But for now, this is the Ray Rice show.
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