CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 4: Strong safety Usama Young #28 of the Cleveland Browns watches Running back Ray Rice #27 celebrate with teammate tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens after Rice scored during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
My thanks go out to Arrowhead Pride's BJ Kissel for giving me the idea of a "most irreplaceable player" posts. Much like Jamaal Charles is the no-brainer for the most irreplaceable offensive player for the Chiefs, Ray Rice is the no-brainer for the most irreplaceable offensive player on the Ravens (In my opinion anyways).
In 2009 Ray Rice broke onto the scene with 2,000 yards from scrimmage, thus establishing himself as one of the best offensive weapons in the NFL. Not only did he lead the team in rushing yards that year, but he led the team in receptions as well. Because of his ability to both run and catch the ball, he quickly became the offense's favorite weapon.
in 2010 we saw a little bit of a drop in Rice's production, but he still collected well over 1,700 yards from scrimmage, which is certainly nothing to scoff at.
Last year, however, Ray Rice was right back to his normal self. Ray Rice reached career highs in yards from scrimmage (2,000+ yet again) and touchdowns (12 rushing, 3 receiving, and even 1 passing). If there was any doubt that came from the 2010 season, it was quickly laid to rest as Ray Rice once again proved that he is arguably the most versatile running back in the NFL.
Ray Rice's contributions to the Ravens aren't just statistical, he provides the offense with a type of "swagger" (excuse my overused sports idiom). He leads the offense with a certain type of confidence, and he has the ability to bail Joe Flacco out when the passing game is stale to say the least. Whenever the offense is in need of 4-5 yards, they can usually look to Ray Rice to get the job done.
Ray Rice is versatile in the sense that he can handle a workload of 15 carries to 30 carries, and he will still put up great numbers either way. As I stated earlier, he has the ability to contribute in the running game, and the passing game. The importance of this ability cannot be overstated, as he can hurt the opposing defense in a number of different ways, which is a very rare talent in the NFL.
Our offense begins and ends with Ray Rice, and I can't say there is any other RB in the NFL I would rather have. Also...re-sign this man!!! Feel free to discuss who you think is the most irreplaceable offensive player if you have any disagreements.