Monday, October 14, 2013
Frustration may help Ravens' run game
By Jamison Hensley
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh hinted on Monday the team may look at changing the run scheme. What stood out to me was another possible change -- in attitude.
After being held under 37 yards rushing for the fourth time in five games, running back Ray Rice acknowledged feeling "a little frustrated." And the key part about this is Harbaugh doesn't mind.
"Frustration can be a great motivator. I like that," Harbaugh said. "Let's be frustrated. Let's go to work and see if we can get better."
A large part of running the ball is attitude. If you're trying to move 320-pound space eaters, you have to carry a ticked-off mentality to do this effectively play after play.
In watching the Ravens this season, it's legitimate to question the attitude of the linemen by how they've gotten pushed back, especially when the line got stonewalled again and again around the goal line Sunday against the Packers. You also have to question their mentality after back-to-back false start penalties on the offensive line during one third-quarter drive. All of this has resulted in 2.7 yards per carry this season, which is tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for worst in the league.
Of course, talent plays a big factor as well, and the Ravens have invested in their offensive line. Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda received a five-year, $32.5 million deal two years ago, and right tackle Michael Oher is a first-round pick. Left guard Kelechi Osemele is a second-round pick, and center Gino Gradkowski is a fourth-rounder. Left tackle Eugene Monroe was acquired when the Ravens traded two draft picks to the Jaguars earlier this month.
"I really feel strongly about our offensive line," Harbaugh said. "I think we have the men for the job. There are some things we need to clean up and some things we can do better."
The biggest change to the Ravens' ground game this offseason was adding Juan Castillo to be the run game coordinator. Harbaugh has indicated in the past that Castillo's touches to the running attack haven't been drastic ones.
"We're not stuck on any particular scheme or any particular technique or any particular way of doing something," Harbaugh said. "We want to find the best way of doing it. We'll find our way into our run game. This is a process. We're fairly early on. I would have sure liked it to happen sooner. I thought it would. But that doesn't mean we're not going to keep going after it."
There's a sense that the Ravens are getting upset about their ineffectiveness, and Harbaugh thinks this can help. One thing for sure is it can't exactly hurt the ground game.