If you read recent articles at Speculative Sports and Pro Football Zone, both running back Willis McGahee and fullback LeRon McClain will not be returning to the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. Both players are free agents and both stories predict that neither will be dressed in the purple and black of the Ravens next season. That would leave Ray Rice, Jalen Parmele, Practice Squad RB Curtis Steele and rookie Anthony Allen (Georgia Tech) as the only running backs currently on the team's roster.
Is that enough to keep the Ravens running game as good as it has been over the years, when the Ravens were known around the league as a run-first offense? With the additions of wide receiver Anquan Boldin last season and rookies Torrey Smith (Maryland) and Tandon Doss (Indiana), do the Ravens really need to focus on the running attack in the same manner now? As QB Joe Flacco develops into the team leader on offense and the passing attack continues its improvement, the need to have a "three-headed monster" diminishes and as long as Rice stays happy and the team has another back to rely on to spell the diminutive Rice, the Ravens running game should continue to flourish.
Of course a lot of that still depends on the abilities of the big bodies along the offensive line to open the holes for Rice and others to dart through as they did for him, McGahee and McClain the past three seasons. If those guys do their jobs and Flacco and company do theirs, the possible, if not probably loss of the other two running backs may not be that big of a loss.