Ravens at Bengals      Pro Bowl Voting      #RavensPumpkin      Game Rewind   

Rice the Receiver

When Ray Rice racks up 99 yards of total offense in a preseason game, one would think the majority of those yards came on the ground.  But Rice was actually more prolific through the air in the Ravens’ 17-13 win over the Carolina Panthers. The second-year running back led the team with eight receptions for [...]

Posted by Mike Duffy on Sunday, August 30th, 2009 at 4:21 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

When Ray Rice racks up 99 yards of total offense in a preseason game, one would think the majority of those yards came on the ground. 

But Rice was actually more prolific through the air in the Ravens’ 17-13 win over the Carolina Panthers.

The second-year running back led the team with eight receptions for 67 yards, while carrying the ball 10 times for 32 yards. 

Rice’s receiving prowess is something that he’d been working on all offseason with running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, a record-setting back with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I’ll be honest, my coach helped me with that,” Rice said.  “This offseason, I was around, and this whole season will be attributed to that.  Everything I worked on in the offseason, I’m bringing to the field.”

The diminutive Rice used every bit of his shifty playmaking ability on several screen passes and check downs over the middle.

On one screen in the first quarter that was deep in Ravens territory, Rice made a slick move on a linebacker and turned what could have been a 1-yard play into a 14-yard gain.

Even though he was known simply as a runner at Rutgers, the second-round draft pick’s performance was no surprise to his teammates.

“You put the ball in Ray’s hands and you know he’s good for six yards or better catching the ball out of the backfield,” said fellow running back Willis McGahee.  “You know he’s going to give it to you.”

Quarterback Joe Flacco agreed.

“He’s a little guy so he get can get in there, and he has good balance,” stated Flacco.  “I just get him the ball in space and you never know what is going to happen.”

Screen passes are somewhat of a new thing for Rice, however.  He said he ran only six or seven while in school.

Rice believes he has been able to hone his craft by lining up across from Ray Lewis and the rest of the Ravens’ talented linebacking corps.

“I like my chances with linebackers,” Rice said.  “I feel as if I’m going against some of the greatest linebackers – if not the greatest linebacker – to play the game day after day in practice, so if I can beat them a few times, I feel like I can do that to anyone I go against. 

“I’m not downing anybody, but I just feel like my confidence is that if I get someone one-on-one, I’m going to make that guy miss.”

Tags: , , ,