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Ravens tight end Todd Heap said Baltimore’s offense changed completely when fullback Le’Ron McClain went down with an ankle injury Sunday versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But with a week to prepare, the Ravens have time to find other routes if they must replace the team’s only fullback (a two-time Pro Bowler) Sunday against Pittsburgh.
“We’ve got some other options,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “When you’ve got a week to prepare for that possibility, we’ll have more things [schemed] up this week.”
The Ravens could turn to rookie tight end Dennis Pitta, who has done work out of the backfield since Organized Team Activities. Pitta stepped in for McClain in the second quarter against Tampa Bay.
Baltimore could also go to its other running backs, Harbaugh said. That would include bruiser Willis McGahee (6-0, 235) and Jalen Parmele (5-11, 222).
Essentially, the Ravens would use the player best qualified to perform the task called for on each play. As Harbaugh explained, there’s many positions that go into being a fullback.
“It’s a fullback, it’s a wing, it’s a balanced two-by-two formation, it’s trips, it’s a movement position,” Harbaugh said. “Le’Ron does all those things. Obviously, you do the things with the position that the [replacement] does best.”
Heap said the loss of McClain affected the offense more than when left tackle Michael Oher left the game with a knee sprain.
“I think the biggest thing was it changed up our personnel groups, and we don’t run a lot of the same plays out of different personnel groups,” Heap said after Sunday’s game. “There’s some plays that are similar, but the offense just changes completely without our fullback in there.”