Ricky Williams to Ravens: Why Williams Will Excel as Ray Rice's Backup

Adam SpencerCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2011

MIAMI - DECEMBER 05:  Running back Ricky Williams #34 of the Miami Dolphins is brought down by Sheldon Brown #24 of the Cleveland Browns at Sun Life Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The interesting saga of Ricky Williams will add another chapter this season, with Williams signing with the Baltimore Ravens.

Williams joins a backfield that features Ray Rice, a super-talented young running back.

The Ravens got rid of Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain, so they needed to sign Williams to help out Rice.

It was a good move for the Ravens. They get a running back who has experience in a two-back system and has fresher legs than his age (34-years-old) would seemingly indicate.

He also has the experience of five 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

For these reasons, he'll be an excellent addition to the Ravens backfield.


Two-Back Experience

Williams has been running the two-back system in Miami for the past three seasons.

Ronnie Brown was the main guy, much like Rice will be in Baltimore.

But, Williams made the most of his carries, averaging more than four yards per carry during those three seasons.

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 15:  Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Image
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

He'll be able to keep Rice fresh, and that means a stronger Rice during the playoffs.


Fresher Legs

Most running backs are washed up by the time they turn 34.

But that's not the case with Williams.

Thanks to a year-long suspension in 2006 and a missed 2004 season due to "retirement," Williams could actually be considered a 32-year-old running back.

Add in a 2007 season during which Williams had only six carries, and that's basically three whole seasons of wear-and-tear that he avoided.

So, the Ravens should benefit from a deceptively young Williams, who still has a lot left in his tank.


Mentoring Rice

Ray Rice still has a lot to learn at the NFL level.

Learning from Williams will be a huge benefit to him (as long as he doesn't take after Ricky off the field).

After all, Williams has five 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, including nearly 1,900 yards in 2002, where also scored 16 touchdowns.

Maybe Rice should talk to Williams about what he did to keep himself healthy during that season (besides smoking pot).

Rice has a ton of potential, and Williams can help him realize that potential fully.



Expecting Williams to put up between 500-600 yards isn't out of the question.

I'd also expect him to score four to six touchdowns.

He still has a lot left to offer, and he'll benefit from playing with Rice just as much as Rice will benefit playing with him.