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McClain Unlikely Hero in Ravens Resurgence

There have been so many surprising stories from this season that have contributed to the Ravens unlikely playoff contention. But this statement is perhaps my favorite.

Le’Ron McClain is the Baltimore Ravens leading rusher with 545 yards and the team’s leading scorer with seven touchdowns.

Not something that any Ravens backer would have said in August. In fact, I needed to replace my old Jon Ogden jersey, not just because the big man retired but that it’s a bit faded due to years of use. I have a habit of picking the less glamorous positions, lineman, and fullbacks normally so Le’Ron was on my radar. I looked for a McClain jersey and found nothing but the usual suspects and a handful of McNair jerseys for half price. I guess no one saw the McClain juggernaut coming. I’m sure that will change.

McClain has become a symbol of what John Harbaugh wants his team to become, tough, hard-hitting, disciplined and humble. Watching McClain rumble across the field to me is a thing of beauty, as he pancakes lineman and has players in the secondary shying away from contact with his 260 pound frame. He even draws some comparisons to Bam Morris hopefully for the running style and not the police record. He says the right things in press and at times seems unaware of the jump that he’s really made in just one season.

Last year he started in 11 games and overtook Justin Green as the starting Fullback. He also appeared on Special Teams. His season stats were typical for a lead blocker and not highly impressive (8 carries, 18 yards) but he did do a fine job helping spring holes for his backfield mate Willis McGahee. Now with his performance against the Bengals last week he appears to have supplanted Willis as the feature back, at least for now.

Of course McClain deserves all of the credit for his new found success but another part needs to go to the Ravens coaching staff who have put him in opportunities to showcase his unique skills. Not only has he become the “Touchdown vulture” that Fantasy players love but he has shown an ability to catch swing passes as well. (18 rec, 119 yds. 1 TD) I have to credit that to Cam Cameron and his inventive schemes. He is seemingly finding a way to get as much out of every player as he can on the offensive side of the ball.

There is no question to me that McClain still has a huge role to play as the Ravens attempt to reach the playoffs. Playoff teams need to be able to run and aside from a few games Baltimore has used a potent attack to soften teams up for a just as surprising aerial display from rookie Joe Flacco. If the Ravens want to make this unlikely march a reality they will need to continue to get contributions from their bruising fullback.

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