Coach Explains No Fullback Decision

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the team worked on three-tight end plays all week.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, December 6th, 2010 at 2:23 am | Categories: 2010 Season, Ryan Mink, Week 13 vs Steelers

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh explained why he chose not to use a fullback in the Ravens’ 13-10 loss to Steelers’ Sunday night.

Pro Bowl fullback Le’Ron McClain, who suffered an ankle injury the week prior was not active. The Ravens’ only other fullback, Jason McKie, whom they signed this past week, was also inactive.

“Le’Ron was a little bit gimpy,” Harbaugh said. “We worked on the three-tight end stuff all week, and we felt like the packages were very similar. What I didn’t want to do was put ourselves in a position to run packages we hadn’t practiced.

“Plus, the two-tight end stuff and three-tight end stuff that we had was pretty good against their outside pass rush.”

Although he’s in his ninth season, McKie only had a week to prep in the Ravens’ offense.

The Ravens felt they could force Pittsburgh’s dynamic pass-rushing outside linebackers, James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, into coverage if they sent tight ends out wide or in other pass routes.

Baltimore used rookie tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta as its fullbacks. They also were the only tight ends after Todd Heap suffered a hamstring injury on the first play from scrimmage.

The Ravens never had success running the ball, notching just 43 yards on 20 rushing attempts. Dickson, however, received seven targets in the passing game, two behind team-leader wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Baltimore may be back to its usual formations soon, as McClain seemed close to being ready to play.

McClain said on Friday that he was “in for Sunday.” According to the Baltimore Sun, he felt he was healthy enough to go against the Steelers.

“Yeah, I could’ve,” he said. “It was for the AFC North, the championship. I know I’m ready, but they made the decision to put me down, so I just went with that. Looking forward to Houston.”

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