Rice Wants To Get Ground Game Going

While Ray Rice doesn’t want to talk too much about touches, five carries won’t ‘cut it.’

Posted by Garrett Downing on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Categories: Garrett Downing, Week 10 vs Seahawks, Week 11 vs Bengals

Five carries for Ray Rice is not a winning formula.

That was the message from the Pro Bowl running back and some of his teammates on Wednesday. They believe the ball needs to be in his hands for the offense to have success.

“I’m never going to be a guy who talks about touches,” Rice said on Wednesday. “But obviously, we know that going into a game that five carries is not going to cut it.”

Rice, who also caught eight passes Sunday, said he was frustrated with the loss, but he is not the kind of player to demand the coaches put the ball in his hands.

“I think Ray looks at it as, ‘let’s do whatever we need to do to win a game,’” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “I also think that Ray feels like he can be a big part of [offensive success] and that’s what I want him to think. That’s what he should believe, because he’s right.”

After the loss, Rice declined to talk with reporters, the first time he has done so after a game during his career with the Ravens. He explained that decision when he met with the media on Wednesday.

“As a professional, you have to sometimes gather your thoughts up and you have to look at a situation before you express yourself bottled up with emotional thoughts,” Rice said. “My reason for declining [interviews] was just not to come out and say something after an emotional loss. That leads to disaster; that leads to trouble.”

In recent weeks, the Ravens ground game has sputtered, and Baltimore has averaged 70 rushing yards per game in the last four weeks alone. The last time Rice topped the 100-yard mark on the ground was in the Week 6 win over Houston.

A variety of factors have contributed to the decline in rushing numbers, as the Ravens had to overcome first-half deficits against the Cardinals and Seahawks, and were facing one of the NFL’s top rush defenses in Pittsburgh.

Also, Rice had a 76-yard touchdown run called back against the Steelers, which would have significantly altered the team’s overall rushing numbers.

All of those issues have impacted the results in the running game.

“You get down in a situation, and you got to climb your way out,” Rice said.

He is on pace to notch a career-low in carries since becoming a starter in 2009 and going to the Pro Bowl that same year. He is averaging 15 carries per game.

One person who thinks Rice should get more touches is linebacker Ray Lewis.

“If that talent right there isn’t touching the ball 25-30 times, then you have to kind of question yourself,” Lewis said. “Ray Rice is definitely one of those talents that has to get our offense going.”

Lewis compared Rice to former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, the organization’s all-time leading rusher.

“He’s that type of player,” Lewis said of Rice.

Lewis mentioned the Ravens Super Bowl season in 2000, comparing the current situation with Rice to the number of carries that Jamal Lewis got during consecutive games that season. In a four-game stretch, Lewis never carried the ball more than 20 times, and the Ravens went 1-3.

In the team’s final 11 games (including postseason), Lewis averaged 28.7 carries per game, and the Ravens won the Super Bowl.

“When those stats changed, we never lost another game,” Lewis said. “Sometimes those things have to happen to put you in position to understand.”

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