It took me a couple of years to realize just how good of a running back Ray Rice is. He wasn’t a household name coming out of college, and with so many other big names on the Baltimore Ravens, it took a little while for Rice to get people’s attention. But if his 2011 season didn’t get your attention, I don’t know what you were watching.
Over the past four years, Rice has easily eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark, but his contributions don’t stop there. He’s also one of the best dual-threat backs in the game, and in 2011 he amassed a career-highs with 2,068 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns.
Rice’s production did drop off by about 400 yard last season, and a big reason why, was rookie Bernard Pierce. The rookie RB clearly established himself as the speedster of the two right away, and as a result he earned himself 108 carries. By the time the playoffs rolled around, fans were excited every time he got in the game.
So with Pierce’s success, and the fact that Rice fumbled three times in the playoffs, many are starting to wonder if the seeds have been planted for a changing of the guard in Baltimore’s backfield. NFL Network analyst Donovan McNabb even went as far to say that Rice fumbled the ball ‘entirely way too much last year,’ and that Pierce will step up and be ‘that guy.’
For the record, Rice only fumbled one time during the 2012 regular season, and he’s only fumbled seven times during his five-year regular season career.
I agree that Pierce is going to see increased carries in 2013, and that Rice probably won’t ever hit 2,000 yards from scrimmage again, but people still need to show him some respect. Ray Rice is one of the game’s best running backs, and he’s done nothing but prove that over the last four years. He’ll continue to be the man in Baltimore until Pierce shows that he’s just truly a better option. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
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