As John Harbaugh mentioned in his press conference after the loss to the Steelers, the organization will do anything they deem necessary to improve and win down the stretch. While that cliché seems to come from every coach after a critical loss, Harbaugh seemed noticeably different in this instance.
He referenced that the team will add, cut and/or trade players to get to the caliber at which they need to be to compete in the AFC. While a move might not be imminent, it’s not for a lack of trying. A bye week gives the team time to explore options and focus on possible help—help that may be on the way.
The team worked out running back Beanie Wells earlier in the week, apparently trying to add another weapon to Jim Caldwell’s offense and bolster what has been a pathetic rushing attack. Ranking 28th in the league with less than 75 yards per game on the ground, the Ravens’ rushing attack isn’t cutting it with Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice. Sure, it’s a combination of the backs not being healthy and the awful offensive line play, but fresh legs are hard to come by in today’s NFL – a prime example of why a three-headed monster could be suited for a balanced offensive scheme.
Things appeared to be looking up after a pretty good offensive performance in Pittsburgh. The line was able to get at least a minimal push off of the ball and Ray Rice emerged past the line of scrimmage on several occasions—a big step forward!
Picking up an extra running back makes sense to a certain extent. Being able to rotate different backs in certain formations should be a key to fire up the ground game. Using multiple-back packages might even be an option with someone like Wells.
The former Cardinal carried the load in Arizona in 2011, when he ran for 1047 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry with an offensive line that wasn’t exactly elite.
Of course the addition of Wells would mix up the sets and keep Rice and Pierce fresh, but the move won’t make a difference if the offense doesn’t boost their entire performance early in games. When you can’t manage to score a touchdown in the first half, let alone build a lead that will allow you to drain the clock in the second half, a third running back will hardly make a difference.
Maybe it won’t be Wells, but the Ravens brass appears set to make a move to help this offense get moving. I’m personally a fan of the talent stored away on the roster, (see Kyle Juszczyk) but it appears the team will look for outside help to get the ball moving.