The biggest disappointment for the 2013 campaign is pretty simple. Ray Rice. Now by no means do I think he is awful and deserves all of any kind of blame, but when it comes down to it, Ray Rice was disappointing.
Is it Rice’s fault that center Matt Birk retired? Or that Kelechi Osemele would go down with a season-ending back surgery? Is it his fault that Bryant McKinnie was a bust once again and showed that he may just not have the mettle to be a serious NFL player? Or is it his fault that he himself had a freak hip-flexor injury that sidelined him for a game and made him average at best? Obviously the answer is no. Unfortunately in a business where the end result is all that matters none of those excuses can fly no matter how much they should.
Here is what matters: 214 rushing attempts for 660 yards, a 3.1 average, and four touchdowns. Worse yet, 58 receptions for 321 yards and zero touchdowns. Every one of those numbers is his worst since his 2008 rookie season. All of them. I’m actually not one who thinks that a running game is key to winning football games. It’s 2014 and it just isn’t. I am one of those however, that thinks Ray Rice is key to winning football games, in any way possible.
Ray Rice is a fantastic player and is crucial to the success of the Baltimore Ravens. He is touted as one of the team leaders and he is paid like one. He needs to be better. The reality is however, that even if Rice played better this season, I’m pretty convinced this year’s Super Bowl wouldn’t have been the Seahawks playing the Ravens instead of the Broncos. So before we get ahead of ourselves Rice was disappointing, yes, but he isn’t the reason for Baltimore’s failings this season.
2013 was not what Ravens fans have come to expect. Players put up numbers and results that they themselves would never expect. Its sports it happens. Can’t win ‘em all. Ray Rice was one of many players and coaches that disappointed this year. But that’s all it is. A disappointment. Rice can bounce back as can this entire Baltimore team.