The running back position is a curious position. Truly on any given Sunday a star can be born. Just as true is a star can come crashing back down to Earth. Some also say that a running back is a dime a dozen or others say that the position is coveted and you must find a dandy. The Baltimore Ravens have Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. Rice, up until last year was considered one of the gems of the game. His ability to create big plays as well as catch the ball out of the backfield is something to be marveled. Pierce had much more success in his rookie campaign than he did his sophomore season. Chalk it up to a sophomore slump? Well you could and I might agree with you.
Of course overall, 2013 was just a bad season in general as far as the running game was concerned. Now not all of that can ever be attributed to just the running backs. The offensive line was overall weak, the passing game was never consistent enough, and quite frankly the whole offense just lacked any punch all season long.
So is the answer new running backs? It shouldn’t be.
Hiring Gary Kubiak a few weeks ago will go a long way to restoring this team’s running game and overall offense. The offensive line is still very much in question but it will be something that is addressed as the spring and summer months roll into action. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce should just remain right where they are.
We already know what kind of an athlete and weapon Ray Rice can be. Since his 2008 rookie season, Rice had rushed for over 1,000 yards in every season except for his last. Now you could call it a decline in production due to age but that might be an overreaction. Let’s keep in mind he is only 27 and should have at least two solid years still ahead of him if not more.
Bernard Pierce will enter his third season and while his numbers weren’t anything to write home about you still have to love the way this guy runs. He runs hard and with purpose. Once again saying he is a dud because of 2013 would be an overreaction. Pierce works hard and will want and do everything he can to become a top back in this league.
If the same low production happens in 2014 then I am all for a serious look at some change in personnel at the running back position; but not now. Draft picks and free agent money can be better spent elsewhere. Just like at the quarterback position, if the Ravens want to bring in someone to compete with the current players I have no problem with that, but don’t use a high draft pick and don’t use more-than-minimum cap space.
Let’s just see what happens in 2014.