McClain, Heap’s Returns Will Be Boost

Fullback Le’Ron McClain and tight end Todd Heap missed the Week 13 meeting vs. Pittsburgh.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 at 11:58 am | Categories: 2010 Season, Divisional at Steelers, Ryan Mink

Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain was upset that he didn’t get to play in the Ravens’ Week 13 loss to the Steelers.
“I know I would have made a difference,” McClain said.
“The good thing is we get [Pittsburgh] in playoff-time, so I can’t do nothing but be ready. I can’t tell you how much I’m ready to play this game.”
Baltimore will have two key offensive weapons in Ravens-Steelers III that it didn’t have in Part II.
McClain was inactive for the Ravens’ 13-10 loss at M&T Bank Stadium due to an ankle injury suffered the week before.
Baltimore will also get back tight end Todd Heap. Heap injured his hamstring on the Ravens’ first play from scrimmage on Dec. 5 when he went deep on a fly route.
So what will those additions mean to the Ravens?
“It’s going to be a big difference, big difference,” McClain said.
The Ravens played without a true fullback, which altered their offensive run game and pass blocking. The Steelers had four sacks in the game.
With Heap down, the Ravens leaned on rookie Ed Dickson in the Sunday night game. Dickson caught three passes for 21 yards, but also dropped what would have been a long gain in the first quarter and had more trouble than Heap would have in blocking.
“It was rough for us,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said, looking back on that game. “Todd is a premier tight end, one of our best playmakers so it should be very helpful for us.”
After missing three games with the hamstring injury, Heap showed what he adds to the passing game last week in Kansas City. He opened the middle of the field for quarterback Joe Flacco and notched 10 receptions for 108 yards.
Heap will also help with blitz-pickup (he blocked Troy Polamalu on the Ravens’ game-winning touchdown pass in Week 4) and run-blocking.
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said his team has had similar problems to what Kansas City did when facing Heap.
“Offensively, I think it starts with Todd Heap,” Tomlin said. “He’s a multi-talented guy, he’s capable of splitting out and running receiver-type routes, he’s a matchup issue problem for a lot of people. Are linebackers athletic enough to cover him? Are safeties or [defensive backs] big enough to cover him?”

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