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No More Excuses!

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The Ravens run game must be on point in 2017.

There can be no exceptions. No more excuses!

No longer can we listen to John Harbaugh’s lip service about the team’s desire to run the football. No longer can we accept lame alibis of how the pace of the game dictated that the Ravens throw the ball and abandon the run.

Nope, not in 2017.

Not coming off a season in which Harbaugh’s running backs ranked 28th in the league rushing (91.4 yards per game).

Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens
Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens

Offensive line coach Juan Castillo is no longer in the fold. No longer can he be the fall guy.  No longer can Joe Flacco lead the league in passing attempts. That formula has proven to spell disaster.

The loss of Dennis Pitta, who re-injured his hip during practice on Friday, adds to the mounting losses on offense that clearly outnumber the additions. It cements the need for the Ravens to establish a formidable ground game this upcoming season. And that need, may be offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s biggest challenge in 2017.

Making the challenge even more daunting is the absence of promising RB Kenneth Dixon who will serve a 4-game suspension to start the season. Mornhinweg and senior offensive assistant Greg Roman will look to Terrance West to be the Ravens bell cow in the backfield.

At least for now.

“I don’t feed into any of that,” stated West following practice on Thursday when asked about being the starter. “Anything can change any given day, any practice.

“Each and every day you’ve just got to come out and perform. You’re as [good] as your last play, so that’s how I look at it.”

West, who rushed for 774 yards on 193 attempts last season (4.0 YPC) and 5 rushing touchdowns, played solidly when given the opportunity. The former Towson University standout understands the need for improvement and took steps this offseason to improve his game.

“I trained at Under Armour downtown,” said West. “I stayed home, local, and got after it. I had a good workout during the offseason.”

“I watched last year’s film on pass protection and stuff like that, things I’ve got to work on and get better at,” West continued. “That’s what I did this offseason.”

Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens
Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens

The weight will indeed fall on West’s legs to start the season even with the acquisition of former San Diego Charger Danny Woodhead. West though, is thankful to have Woodhead in the offensive backfield.

“Danny is explosive, man,” responded West when asked about the veteran back. “He’s a great back coming out of the backfield. Film doesn’t lie; he does it.

“He made some plays out here today. Anything that’s going to help us win a Super Bowl, I’m down for it.”

Perhaps the biggest addition to the run game arrives in the form of the aforementioned Greg Roman, who West says, has put his signature on the ground attack.

“A lot of downhill running, getting straight to it and attacking the defense,” said West about the new coach. “That’s what I like.”

West likes the changes that complement his style of play.

“It’s easy – it’s about the same, but a little bit tweaking it at the line of scrimmage [and] how we’re blocking things,” West said. “I think this year is going to be great for running backs.”

Hopefully West is prophetic because the Ravens will need a big year from their backs. And they’ll need a coaching staff willing to commit to the run game.

No more excuses.

The team’s success depends upon it.

 

Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR

 

 

 

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