RBs That Could Help Ravens Return to Playoffs

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The Ravens have always had good running backs. At times, they’ve had great running backs. Earnest Byner, Jamal Lewis, Priest Holmes, Willis McGahee, etc. have all had different running styles but have all helped Baltimore win games (at times, even when rushing was the only thing the defense expected).

These days the Ravens still have a high level of talent at the position, but their confidence in those players might be waning. Mine would be.

We all know about Ray Rice and what he’s involved in. Baltimore ownership has consistently stated that Rice will be a big part of the team in 2014. That loyalty is good to see but it may not be up to the ownership, as Rice is subject to league discipline.

Rice’s backup, Bernard Pierce, has impressed since he’s been a Raven. One could easily say that Pierce had a down year last year, but what member of the Baltimore offense didn’t? Due to his balance and mean stiff-arm, Pierce will rarely go down after the first hit and will frequently maximize yardage, whether running between the tackles or along the sideline.

Pierce is recovering from shoulder surgery, but according to the Sun, he said Saturday night that he should be ready to play, “definitely by training camp.”

Cierre Wood is the other running back currently on Baltimore’s roster. He’s a second-year back from Notre Dame who’s carried three times for nine yards in his career. Wood comes from the Texans, so maybe Gary Kubiak sees something in him that he likes.

Even if Rice isn’t suspended and Pierce is 100 percent healthy, the Ravens still need help at the position. They ranked 30th in the league last year in rushing offense, gaining a meager average of 83 yards per game, including just five runs of 20 yards or more and seven touchdowns.

By comparison, Philadelphia (the league’s best rushing offense) ran for an average of 160 yards per game, including 19 runs of 20 yards or more and 19 touchdowns.

The Ravens don’t have to be the Eagles in terms of their rushing offense. The players the Eagles have on their roster are special players. However the Ravens have special players too, and should perform much better than 30th best.

That said, I propose two options to augment Baltimore’s rushing attack. Both options are very doable and would coincide with the Ravens’ M.O.

Option 1: Sign Andre Brown (UFA, NYG)

Andre Brown is coming off of a shortened but productive season for the New York Giants. Brown broke his left leg in the same spot two years in a row, yet in 18 games with the Giants he’s averaged 4.1 yards per carry and rushed for 11 touchdowns.

Brown (6’0″, 227 pounds) was born in Baltimore and won’t turn 28 until Week 15 of the 2014 season. He’s an unrestricted free agent that earned $2.023 million with New York in 2013.

The prospect of a hometown player, in his prime, that won’t cost a lot is one I’d expect the Ravens to at least be exploring.

Option 2: Draft Terrance West (Towson)

If you watched Towson University football over the last three years, you know the name Terrance West.

Since 2011, West (5’9″, 225 pounds) has scored 84 rushing touchdowns. He rushed 802 times for Towson, racking up a whopping 4,854 yards (6.1 per carry average).

A product of Charm City’s Northwestern High School, West showed power, grit, and rare endurance. He played in a complex offense run by Tigers head coach Rob Ambrose and would fit in well with the Ravens’ new offense, should they draft him.

Both backs are Baltimore born, weigh at least 225 pounds, and do their best work near the end zone. Furthermore, if the Ravens were to acquire either of these players, there’s not a foreseeable scenario in which they would have to compromise their salary cap or pool of draft picks.

Both Brown and West are what the Ravens look for: tough, hard-nosed players that love football and aren’t afraid of adversity.

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About Mike Fast

Mike Fast
I was born and raised in Baltimore. But after a year at York College of Pennsylvania, I transferred to Towson University. At York and Towson, I hosted various radio shows, wrote for the school paper, spoke on a panel RE: college game day presentation at IBS conference in Manhattan and...more

12 Raves on “RBs That Could Help Ravens Return to Playoffs

  1. TRUTH on said:

    West faced weaker competition. Those stats don’t happen in the SEC. We’re looking for more of a Carlos Hyde type of back, one cut and up the field with power. Charles Sims, Andre Williams, Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill all make more sense than Terrence West or Andre Brown (at 4x the cap).

    • robbo on said:

      West is Good maybe you should have watched his tape if he was in The sec he would have had the same type of of career might have been considerd a top5 rb

      • TRUTH on said:

        I have studied West, and he’s overrated because he’s from Baltimore. When you compare him to the other power backs in this draft it’s not even close, he’s not on their level. West was running around high school boys, Hyde was running through grown men. Don’t let the Towson infatuation fool you.

  2. seatraveller on said:

    They should have been all over Blount. Unfortunately we were in that period known as OZZIE SLEEP, where there are good players at needed positions available on the cheap. Hopefully he’ll awake before it’s too late. If we are not careful we will have a disaster with Rice unavailable and Bernard hurt. Even available Rice may not be that good anymore.

    • Sascha on said:

      The idea that Ozzie is sleeping through any of this is ridiculous. He has a fantastic track record of acquiring inexpensive veterans at positions of need. Corey Graham, James Ihedigbo, and Daryl Smith are all good examples from the last few years.

    • james on said:

      The bottom line is. Ozzie wasn’t going to get into a bidding war with the Steelers for a guy that would probably only see the field on plays where the team is third and short or on the goal line.

      This is a hole in the roster that should be addressed in the draft, not over spending on free agents.

    • Joe on said:

      Usually, Ozzie is “sleeping” during the first week or two of free agency, and fans jump on him for THAT inactivity. He’s usually all over the 2nd “round” of FA signings.

      This year is different. We retained 4 of our own in Pitta, Monroe, D. Smith, and Jacoby. We went out and signed Steve Smith at WR, Darian Stewart at S, and traded for Jeremy Zuttah at C. Anyone who thinks Ozzie is sleeping is just expecting us to be the Dolphins, Cowboys, Redskins, etc, and that’s just wrong.

      What is happening right now is Ozzie sees the players available and knows he can get equal talent from the draft, so why bother to overpay a veteran guy who will play as well as a cheaper rookie?

  3. Nick on said:

    Charles Sims, Marqise Lee, CJ Fiedorowicz….that’s all we need on offense to make it as explosive as the best of last years offenses. Of course O-Line depth and a defense that won’t crumble in the 4th would help as well.

  4. Phil from Frostburg on said:

    Andre Williams of BC is a beast and would be perfect for the Ravens in the 3rd round if he’s still there.

  5. Big C the Guru on said:

    I’m telling the guy to target in the draft is Lache Seastrunk. Youtube this kid, he’s been putting up big plays since HS. He has the type of explosion to change plays. That’s what we need, some explosion….

  6. The Truth on said:

    No to both of those options Mike….Brown is subject to be injured again because of his running style and weak bones, and he’s not that big either…..And we already have a midget RB in RR so we don’t need his clone in West….
    Ozzie has indicated that he wants a big bruiser down hill RB that can get you that 2-3 yard 1st down when we have to have it…..Think Jamaal Lewis, that’s what we need…..

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