Isn't all of that explainable by the delta between our O-line in 2009 and 2011? We had good O-line play in 2009, not so good in 2011. McKinnie was very iffy, Grubbs was out for 6 games, Gurode was terrible, Oher was inconsistent, etc. O-line play has a huge impact on yards-per-carry.
Not sure how what you're talking about has anything to do with Cameron's offense. Rice played in Cameron's offense in 2011, when he led the league in yards from scrimmage; and also in 2009, when you say he was better. I don't see how you conclude from this that Rice would be better in some other offense.
The offense seems perfect for Rice's talents. This really shouldn't even need to be said, since Rice led the NFL in yards from scrimmage this year, was 3rd last year, and 2nd the year before. Three consec seasons in the top 3 in yards-from-scrimmage: obviously the offense is well set up for Rice to be successful. The thing speaks for itself.
But the Gillman-Coryell-Saunders-Zampese-Norv offense has always been perfect for that kind of running back, the dual threat rush/receive guy. Look at Marshall Faulk's success in St Louis, and Priest Holmes' success in Kansas City. The same kind of running backs in the exact same offense, putting up big numbers. Also some guy named Tomlinson in San Diego.
I don't see how anyone could say Rice would be more effective in some other offensive system. Seems obvious he's likely be much less effective in another system. Maybe he'd more effective surrounded with other offensive personnel; but that's different.
Granted the oline is poorly coached but laying it at the feet of the Oline only is a cop out. Watching the games last year it was clear that the Ravens were not a good running team. They were terrible on short yardage and that came back to haunt them in the playoffs. You can try to explain it away that it was all on the oline and Rice and Leach were great but in reality they are all culpable. If you want a refresher of just how mediocre it was just go back and watch the first 3 series of the New England game. Could not run the ball a lick against one of the worst defenses in the league.
Play offs are different, and you can QUITE clearly see that the Oline was god awful in that game. Our offensive line was man handled through out that game, and Leach or Rice didn't have any room to work with at all. Thank god Flacco, our receivers, and defense stepped up, because we would have been leaving Foxboro with a much different score line that what it was. Or maybe it's better losing that way, rather than coming within a stripped pass, and a missed 32 yard field goal of making the SB.
Oher was much better as a rookie than he's been in either season since. Why? I don't know since you rarely see that but it's difficult to dispute.
Our OLine would get blown up. That tells me either our guys are not physically strong enough (which I don't think is the case) or defenses were getting lower and getting underneath our linemen.
Or is it the blocking scheme does not put our Oline in the best position to succeed?
Frankly, I would have come out throwing against the Pats from the very first play with a fake to Rice...but that's another story all together. The Pats were 31st in the league against the pass but 17th against the rush.
Everyone knows our offensive line is new to the ZBS, and that in reallity our offensive line aren't built for it. Most of our players are big maulers who would be better to just move the opposite player out of the way. But I guess if you continue to add more athletic linemen like Gradkowski and Jah Reid, then you're eventually going to see an effective ZBS.
In any case this thread has gotten way out of hand lol. Bottom line, for the price NO we don't need Leach. Does he make our team better? Sure and yep. We coud really end the thread right there.
I'm kinda surprised this thread has managed to make it to four pages.
I don't think my opinion differs a lot from the consensus here. Leach is the best Fullback in the NFL. That's fact---and confirmed by the respect among his peers in tonight's vote.
Do the Ravens absolutely need him to be successful? Of course not. A lot of teams are successful without even using a fullback.
Does having Vonta Leach on your roster give you more ways of beating your opponent? Most certainly. Even if you ignore the intangible part of the equation that Leach brings on to opposing defenses through wear-and-tear factor, he brings a blocking presence that gives a bit more of a dimension to the Raven offense. That dimension is underused by a lot of teams right now to the point where it's assumed that it's no longer necessary. Yet, for a team playing in the AFC North, I think having a fullback like Leach makes you more potent down the stretch of games, where running the ball to maintain possession and milke the clock is crucial. I think back to the game in Cincinnati to finish our season, and my assessment of Leach's value is finalized there.
I will break away from the consensus here in terms of Leach's value to the salary cap. I'm perfectly okay with Leach's contract value. Leach is the best fullback in the NFL. Just because it's a devalued position overall doesn't mean that his specific value in terms of ability should be devalued. In the end, a player's salary is designed to do one thing....help you produce more wins. I guess you have to ask yourself this question. If the Ravens did not have Vonta Leach last year and would have had a Hynoski or Vickers in his place, would they still have been a 12-4 team? In my humble opinion, they would have not. I think to the regular season Houston game and how well he opened up holes for RR against a very stout Texans defense. I think about the Cards game and both Cincy games and think how big runs shaped the momentum surges of those three contests. Without Leach, we are an 11-5 team, and in Denver for Wild Card weekend. So, even if Leach's salary was $5 million a year, I think the quality of play from his position he brought the Ravens would be well worth it.
Leach took up less than 3% of our total 2012 salary cap. It's not as if his contract was standing in our way of getting over the top. With the money committed to Leach last offseason, what could the Ravens have done instead? The Ravens 2012 roster had no holes. The only two positions of need during the entire season (WR and MLB) were only brought on by injury. It's not as if the Ravens missed out on an opportunity to sign a good player to fill a vital role due to the money they gave to Leach. The type of money they gave Leach, had they redirected it to another positon, would have gone to sign a depth player on the O-line, D-line, or LB positions. I'm sorry, but I don't think that any player at any of those positions (in theory) would have provided the Ravens with more win value than Leach did. Again, we are talking about the #1 fullback in the NFL. The #1 fullback in the NFL probably gets paid the same in free agency as the #90 WR in the NFL or the #120 O-lineman or linebacker. There is no argument that you can ever make that would entice me to believe that the best player in the entire league at his position (excluding long snapper or maybe punter) would bring less win equity to a team than a middle-of-the-road player at another position. The Ravens won games last year due to Leach's ability. There is no assurances that the same amount of money redirected to another position would have even come close to replicating the extra tangible value Leach brought.
Bottom line on Leach: tremendous asset in the running game, tremendous liability in the passing game.
It hasn't been emphasized enough how unhelpful Leach is in the passing game. He is not as good a pass-blocker as he is a run-blocker. That's kind of a tough standard, since he's an awesome run-blocker, but I think he's just average as a pass blocker. And Leach is terrible as a receiver. Just 4.6 yards-per-catch last season, which is already low, but his actual productivity was worse. Football Outsiders has his catch rate at 56%, which is bad for a RB. They show him targeted 27 times on the season; so 14 catches for 69 yards works out to 2.6 yards per pass attempt. That's even worse than Lee Evans was (slightly).
Normally with an offensive player as useless as that in the passing game, I'd say a team would be better off without him. Completely. It's a passing league; the Ravens should run more single-setback, 2TE-2WR formations or more 3-wide. But Leach is a helluva run blocker. A lot of value in short-yardage or goal-line, and he does spring Rice for some long runs. So he can be a valuable piece.
I like to see Leach thump a guy, and see Rice get loose. I like to see us run the ball successfully. That's a fun aspect of the game, when it's working. The Ravens wanted to improve their running game, and Leach does that. But it's a double-edged sword.
All of you guys who think the Ravens need to use Leach a lot, that's fine. But then you lose the right to complain about Cam Cameron's offense being unimaginative and the Ravens being unproductive in the passing game. Because as much as he helps with rushing, Leach is part of the problem when it comes to passing the ball.
Leach is a beast.
Yes you need him and here is why!