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Power Running Game Missing Link in Ravens Offense

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Coach John Harbaugh’s family ties and influence of the legendary coach Bo Shembechler is part of the Ravens success in his short tenure with the team.

The ties go back to his father and brother as mentioned in Baltimoreravens.com, “Jack Harbaugh was an assistant under legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, who served as an uncle figure to John and his brother Jim as they grew up.” Also of interest, Cam Cameron spent his first 10 years of his career learning from Shembechler while at the University of Michigan. However, with the connection to Schembechler there is one thing that may be forgotten or is a missing link in the Ravens offense, and that is the running game.

Schembechler had an important adage, “run first,” and believed in a “power-running” game with a dominating offensive line. We’ve seen flashes of a great running game but not as much balance as fans would like to see.

Yes, the Ravens ran the ball more Sunday but it wasn’t dominant running. A team can run with finesse or a team can run by wearing down their opponent and last Sunday the Ravens didn’t exactly wear down their opponent. This year in short yardage the team has struggled as evident in the New England game due to lack of commitment to the running game. The lack of a balanced offence is something to consider moving forward this season. The Ravens actually looked better last year as far as pounding the ball with fullback Lorenzo Neal blocking for RB LeRon McClain and the team’s time of possession was something emphasized. This year it is about scoring along with an up tempo pace which is good but not always the key in a controlling the offense. Though Flacco can put the offense on his shoulders, he shouldn’t have to with the weapons the team has at the running back position.

                                        Ravens Have The Tools

There is no doubt that Cam Cameron has elevated this offense and changed the whole identity for the better. He has been instrumental in developing quarterback Joe Flacco and has installed a system for Flacco to continue to win. The fact is Cameron has developed a few QB’s in his career with Drew Breeze and Phillip Rivers who are top rated quarterbacks. All the pieces are there with a strong offensive line and if the Ravens commit to McClain as the fullback for McGahee and Rice then the success of a dominating running game will come.

Fans would also like to see both running backs involved; when a team has two talents that can add to the offense they should be utilized. The team also has the luxury of going with McClain as the running back if they can find the right blocking scheme for him. In a game like the last one, when the offense can’t seem to get its rhythm it helps to just run the ball straight ahead and pound it inside. It is just a matter of committing to a strong running game and many fans hope that the Ravens get back to grinding it out a bit more than they have been.


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2 Responses to “Power Running Game Missing Link in Ravens Offense”

  1. starrc10 says:

    I think the Ravens would do well to find their power running game SOON, as the Vikings have appeared susceptible to the run as of late. They seem to have changed their defense to a more balance approach, and it seems to me, if you punch them in the face early with a heavy running game, the throws will start to open up nicely for Flacco.

    While this seems like the best plan, it should be kept in mind that the Vikings have the personnel to play both stages of defense very well, but they seem to have trouble matching schemes with what their opponent is doing.

    That being said- go Vikings (and Matt Birk to a lesser extent, loved that guy)

  2. milo says:

    mr. winner eloquently points out the need for the balanced offense!

    Bengal foe Benson rushed for 120 yards…first player in 40 games to eclipse 100 yards against the Ravens (Larry Johnson in Week 14 in 2006) (espn). When you rush for more than 100, more often than not, a ‘W’ is the result.

    Our Birds are currently fifth in the league in rushing – not that I am a huge fan of Coach Madden – however, he always preached the “wear ’em down” pounding rush – keeping the defense on the field and chewing up precious time…

    Go Ravens…just imagine the purple in the stands on Sunday is Raven Purple!

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