Ray Rice happy to have Leach back
Losing tight end Dennis Pitta for the season has been the biggest story of training camp. However, the Ravens may use their running game as a way to compensate.
With Vonta Leach back in the fold, the Ravens have all the elements needed to run the football effectively. Leach is one of the NFL’s best blocking fullbacks. Ray Rice is in his prime, coming off four straight 1,000-yard seasons. Coach John Harbaugh says Bernard Pierce is stronger and faster than last season. And the Ravens have the makings of a solid offensive line, assuming left guard Bryant McKinnie overcomes his weight problems.
Pitta was expected to be a primary weapon, a tight end with the versatility to line up in the slot. Utilizing Pitta more was supposed to lessen the impact of trading away Anquan Boldin. That was Plan A. Now with Pitta gone, the Ravens must figure out a Plan B.
That’s where the running game will factor in. This is not suggesting that the Ravens will base their offense on running the football. The NFL is a passing league. Joe Flacco is not being paid all that money to hand off.
However, the Ravens were 11th in the league in rushing last season, and it’s not hard to envision them being a top-10 rushing team in 2013. If the Ravens can run effectively in short yardage, in the red zone, and in the fourth quarter when they have the lead, their entire offense will benefit.
The Ravens won’t spend the rest of training camp and preseason dwelling on losing Pitta. They can’t afford to. Instead, they will use training camp to evolve offensively in a different way. With Leach returning, and Pitta gone, the Ravens may look for their running game to become more lethal in 2013.