Bisciotti Wants Run Game Fixed

John Harbaugh said improving running the ball is priority No. 1 for the offense.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Last year, Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti said penalties were the one thing that frustrated him the most.

Bam, it was fixed in 2010 – a point Head Coach John Harbaugh later conceded had something to do with the owner’s request.

So what’s Bisciotti’s magic wish for this year?

“I think we’ve got to get that run game,” Bisciotti said. “If I was an objective observer, I would say the run game let us down.”

Baltimore went from the fifth-best in the NFL in 2009 in yards per carry (4.7) to fifth-worst in 2010 (3.8).

General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Owner Steve Bisciotti

Running back Ray Rice ran the ball 53 more times this season than he did last, yet gained 119 fewer rushing yards. It was also behind a mixed-up offensive line without mauling tackle Jared Gaither, which forced natural guard Marshal Yanda to tackle and inserted guard/center Chris Chester.

The Ravens have already made a coaching change, relieving John Matsko of his duties and promoting his assistant, Andy Moeller, to offfensive line coach.

“We need to run the ball better,” Harbaugh said. “If we run the ball better and we’re more physical, that opens a lot of possibilities from the passing game, play-calling, gives guys a chance to make plays across the board. So, if I was going to say one thing, I’d say that would be the No. 1 thing we need to focus on going forward.”

Much of the focus this past offseason, offensively, was on improving in the passing game. The Ravens added receivers Anquan Boldin, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth and drafted two tight ends.

Baltimore seemed stacked for another solid rushing attack with Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain returning to the backfield.

“Maybe we took that for granted,” Bisciotti said. “When you’re getting [4.7] yards a carry, it’s the staple of your offense. It’s not a given.

“I think Joe’s production would have been better if we had done that. And why we didn’t do that? We have to go back to the drawing board. You can’t take what you’re good at for granted and think you’re just going to build on that.”

Baltimore’s passing game didn’t take off as hoped either, considering all the moves this offseason.

The Ravens went from 18th in the league in passing yards per game (213.7) to 20th in 2010 (208.4). Boldin, Houshmandzadeh and Stallworth all saw their statistics drop.

General Manager Ozzie Newsome put the blame on his shoulders, saying he didn’t give the players enough time to develop chemistry.

Houshmandzadeh was signed in early September, about a week before the Ravens’ regular-season opener.

“That’s not easy to do,” Newsome said. “So, if you can build continuity starting at the beginning of the offseason and build it all the way through, I think the production is there.”

Harbaugh appreciated Newsome taking some of the blame, but that “you add players when you can, how you can, any way you can.”

“I look at it as being on us as coaches,” Harbaugh said. “That’s something that we’ve got to do a better job of moving the football and scoring points. I’d say the same thing about our defense, and I’d say the same thing about our special teams. That’s how you look at it as a coach. But, it’s more dramatic on offense; we all saw it.”

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