Is Joe Flacco or Ray Rice More Important To Baltimore Ravens?

By Brian Moore
Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

The recent injury of Dennis Pitta, a major cog in the Baltimore Ravens‘ passing game, has raised questions about the team. There was already doubt surrounding the defending Super Bowl champs due to the trade of Anquan Boldin, and Pitta’s season-ending ailment is enough for most people to agree that Baltimore is plagued by bad luck.

Pitta will be sorely missed at times during the season, but there is still enough talent on the team to find the endzone.

Whose loss would be the hardest to overcome though? Many might say Ray Rice, who is considered by most to be the heart and soul of the Ravens’ offense. Over the past five seasons, Rice has played in 77 games, starting in 65 of them. He has 5,520 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns, as well as 2,713 receiving yards and six touchdowns, combining for 8,233 all-purpose yards and 39 touchdowns. That is a lot of production from such a little man.

Replacing Rice would be impossible, but there would be ways to work around his absence. Bernard Pierce could easily pick up much of the slack in the running game, with Bobby Rainey and Anthony Allen taking reps behind him. Filling in for him as a receiver would be a bit more challenging, but there are enough pass-catchers on the roster that could conceivably share the load.

What about Joe Flacco? In the past five seasons, Flacco has 80 consecutive starts (one more breaks the Ravens’ franchise record), 17,633 passing yards and 102 touchdowns. Flacco has had his share of ups and downs throughout his career, but he has been consistent especially when it matters. He has 2,672 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in 13 total playoff games.

Replacing Flacco would be impossible, period.

Tyrod Taylor has impressive athleticism and could benefit from designed runs, but he is nowhere near the passer Flacco is in both ability and confidence. Baltimore’s offense revolves around two things: a strong running game and big plays in the passing game. With a stout defense, the Ravens could conceivably finish with a winning record even without Flacco, but they wouldn’t get far in the postseason.

Losing Ray Rice would be a huge blow to the offense, but losing Joe Flacco would essentially neutralize it.

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