Baltimore Ravens Can't Afford To Shy Away From Ray Rice

By Devin O'Barr
Joe Flacco hands to Ray Rice

After the Baltimore Ravens awarded Joe Flacco the richest contract in NFL history my focus immediately turned to what will happen with Ray Rice. Last season fans were screaming to get Rice more involved in the offense to lighten Flacco’s load underneath center.

The pressure is going to be on Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell as screams are going for Flacco to sling the football and “earn his money” are going to be abundant. I find that argument moronic as the only way that Flacco will ultimately show his worth is to hoist another Lombardi Trophy in February. Make no mistake about it, this team is not competitive without Rice in the backfield.

Just because Flacco is now getting paid more than Peyton ManningDrew Brees and Aaron Rodgers doesn’t mean he has to drop back 45 plus times as well.

Baltimore has something that none of those teams do and neglecting Rice in this offense would end terribly. For example, Rice had 2,068 yards from scrimmage in 2011 which led all NFL players–stats like these should show just how much the Ravens lean on Rice. I would like to see Caldwell get Rice even more involved as he saw a 15 catch decrease last season and had 34 fewer rush attempts in 2013 than 2012.

I understand that Flacco was Joe Montana-esque in the postseason this year, however, I have much more faith in Rice to lead this team in 2013 as he has been doing in for the last four seasons.

This duo could go down as one of the best in NFL history if Flacco can materialize into the Hall of Fame quarterback that the Ravens are hoping. At the same token, if the Ravens force an extensive workload on their quarterback the Ravens can expect to have a monster rift in the offensive huddle. I don’t know what to expect from Caldwell this year, but I can assure you if Rice doesn’t rush for 1,000 yards again this year the AFC North will not be kind do the Ravens.

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