The Baltimore Ravens have a glaring issue that people seem to think is getting better, but it is clearly not. The running game is absolutely dismal. John Harbaugh mentioned giving the rock to the hot hand, but this has not happened. Ray Rice needs to take a seat. Bernard Pierce should be the starter in Baltimore.
I blame the lack of production on the horrible zone-blocking scheme from Juan Castillo; something you all have seen me mention countless times. It is clearly hindering the offense, yet the coaches are doing nothing to change it. However, even with the garbage scheme that Castillo has set up, Pierce is making the most out of his carries while Rice is struggling to get back to the line of scrimmage. He has only had one 100-plus yard game this season.
Sure, everyone can harp on that 131-yard performance by Rice three weeks ago, but it was against the one of the worst run defenses in football, and what has Rice done since then? Nothing of merit. Rice has averaged 2.2 yards per carry in the last two weeks. Granted, he was facing the no. 1 defense against the run in the New York Jets, but the Pittsburgh Steelers should have been walked all over on the ground on Thanksgiving. They are ranked 18th against the run and Rice still couldn’t produce.
Pierce was not much better, but he was better. In the aforementioned games, Pierce averaged 3.25 yards per carry and seemed to find the holes better than Rice. This is not the first time that Pierce has outdone Rice either. Last year against the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts, Pierce proved that he is a home-run hitter type of back. He dominated, rushing for 123–yards on 14 carries against the Giants and 130-yards on 13 carries against the Colts in the 2012 playoffs.
The Ravens already let one star in Bobby Rainey slip through their grasp without realizing his potential, and now he is blowing it up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let’s hope we don’t lose another star because of the loyalty to Rice. Pierce would be any other team’s starter, yet he is a situational back on this team; it does not make sense.
The changing of the guard has happened; it is now time to reflect it in the workload. Pierce deserves the starting job and Rice needs to ride the pine.