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Rice To Play ‘Significantly,’ But Cautiously

Cam Cameron has a history of not overworking his RBs in the preseason.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, August 26th, 2010 at 10:00 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

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While some have wondered why Ray Rice isn’t getting much burn this summer, it’s not unprecedented for Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron’s star runners to take it easy during the preseason.

LaDainian Tomlinson sat out for significant time during the preseasons when Cameron coached him with the San Diego Chargers from 2002-06. Similarly, Rice isn’t being overworked, either.

“A guy that’s a three-down back, they’re playing 65 plays a game through the course of a year, you have to be careful with them in the preseason,” said Cameron.  ”I look at it from the preseason to through the regular season.  A three-down back isn’t going to play a lot.

“There are only so many touches in those guys.”

Running back Ray Rice played only three snaps in the Ravens’ preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, but didn’t touch the ball once.  He followed that with 17 plays last weekend at Washington, coming away with five touches (one of which was a botched exchange with quarterback Joe Flacco).

Tomlinson saw a similar scenario from 2002-05, when he was a ballcarrier 13 total times. From 2006-08, “L.T” didn’t have a single carry or reception, and he even won the NFL Most Valuable Player award in 2007.

Of course, that’s the extreme.

Cameron plans on Rice playing much more this weekend against the New York Giants – a combination of the starters getting at least a half of work and the young Rice preparing for his third professional season.

“Any back in his first two years, he’s going to play a lot anyway,” said Cameron.  ”In the third year, you start to look at it a little closer.  Ray will play significantly this weekend.”

Regardless of how much Rice plays, Cameron knows the explosive back will be ready for the regular-season opener against the New York Jets.

“The good news for us here is that we practice like it’s a game,” Cameron noted.  ”We get a lot of live work at training camp.”

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