The ninth starter on the Baltimore Ravens‘ Super Bowl team is no longer with the team as fullback Vonta Leach has been cut by the team due to failed contract negotiations last week.
The Ravens decided on Monday to trade or release the veteran. After not finding any trade partners, the team has opted to cut him Tuesday morning. Much will be made about the release from the perspective of the running backs, as Ray Rice benefited greatly from Leach’s blocking.
Leach is regarded as the best full back in the game, so the team will miss his skills in some capacity. Fourth-round draft pick Kyle Juszczyk can play fullback and tight end, and will be expected to take over Leach’s role. From an experience standpoint, Juszczyk would have greatly benefited being under Leach in terms of learning the fullback position.
This decision could also mean that the Ravens are leaning towards more single back formations as they were relatively successful with that particular package in the postseason.
What does this mean for Rice? For those of you who think that Rice may fall off due to Leach’s departure, think again. When Rice became a starter for the Ravens in 2009, he was second in the league in yards from scrimmage with 2,041, two years before Leach signed with the Ravens. Leach didn’t make Rice, but Leach did enhance his game.
The Ravens have made a full transition to the youth movement. Make no mistake about it. The Ravens have used the Super Bowl win as a guide to lead the team into a new era. People have to understand that these moves were going to come regardless. Now we will see if the Ravens are as good as they were last year.