The Baltimore Ravens have one of the best receivers out of the backfield in superstar running back Ray Rice, but the former Rutgers star isn’t done getting better in that regard. Rice already helps out Joe Flacco enough, but he told top beat writer Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun that he wants to become an even better pass-catcher and help Flacco out even more. Not only does he ease things up for the Ravens signal-caller by providing a steady pair of hands, but he is also, of course, one of the best pure rushers in the NFL; that alone alleviates a lot of stress off of a quarterback.
Rice told the Baltimore Sun, “Now that guys know that I’m a threat out of the backfield, I got to use my hands a little more. I get pushed a lot coming out of the backfield, and that’s a sign of respect, but if I can get my hands and get out on pass routes and continue to get open for Joe Flacco.
The main point here is that Rice realizes that his immense success as a pass-catcher is obviously leading to more teams scheming against him and hitting him up in the backfield early and often on pass plays. Rice will not only have to be astute in holding onto the football once he makes the catch, but he will also have to use the traits that make him a successful running back in order to continue to get yardage after the catch. Defenses will continue to key in on Rice, and that means it’s going to be harder for him to get open and to get loose after making the reception.
Last season, Rice hauled in 61 passes, but that was actually the lowest in his career since his rookie season. Rice had 78, 63, and 76 receptions respectively in the three previous years, so the numbers seem to back up the fact that Rice is getting tougher looks in coverage from defenses.
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