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John Harbaugh: Ravens will still run plenty with Marc Trestman calling plays

John Harbaugh doesn't expect the Ravens to stop running the ball just because Marc Trestman is the new offensive coordinator.

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Fairly or unfairly, Marc Trestman has a reputation of asking his quarterbacks to throw the ball a lot.

In Chicago this past season, the Bears attempted 607 passes, which ranked seventh in the NFL. Critics of Trestman pointed to a coach that consistently neglected the running game. Supporters, mostly outside of Chicago, said it was a near-impossible task for the Bears to dedicate themselves to a running game when they were behind in many games with a weak offensive line.

As it pertains to Trestman as the Ravens' offensive coordinator, coach John Harbaugh said he doesn't believe the hire will have any negative effect on the run game.

"I don't know what he's known as, or who knows him as what, but we have a way we want to play and we have a system in place," Harbaugh said on a conference call. "We've been running the ball here for a long time. That has been our philosophy and our belief, and Marc understands that. Marc has run the ball at different places with a ton of success, too. I'm not worried about anybody's perception of the whole thing."

Trestman, for that matter, said he's not going to overhaul what's already in place. Trestman said that in similar situations previously as an offensive coordinator that he's gone into situations to learn what the foundation for the offense was and would cater his system to that to keep the unit moving in the right direction.

"Let me just start by saying it's never going to be my offense," Trestman said. "It's always going to be the Ravens' offense. I've been in this situation before on two or three occasions where there was a pre-existing coordinator and a very successful situation. What I did is ... It really started back in 1995 when Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak left [for] Denver [and] I came into San Francisco as the coordinator.

"I think the framework and the formula for this is for me to go in and learn the offense and learn the nuances of the offense. The language is going to be similar, because Gary and I come out of the same training ground in terms of learning what people know as the West Coast offense, so to speak. So, my idea would be, ‘Why would I have 40 some guys learn a new offense when I'm just one person? Isn't it easier for me to learn it than to start over with everybody else, including coaches?'"

When Trestman's offense clicked in 2013, the Bears ranked fifth in passing at 267.6 yards per game. They were in the middle of the road in rushing, checking in at 16th at 114.2 yards per game. In that season, though, running back Matt Forte ran for a career-best 1,339 yards. So it's not like Trestman doesn't want to run the ball. However, history would indicate he doesn't run it as much as someone like Gary Kubiak wants to run it.

That stated, this could be a situation where Trestman has no choice but to run the ball. Harbaugh, on the same conference call, said the zone-blocking scheme implemented last offseason will remain. With the offensive line being a great strength, the Ravens will want to get the ball into the running backs' hands.

As for Trestman, he said he's willing to adapt, as he's done with previous teams.

"I've been in all different kinds of systems," he said. "In Oakland, we were never in the shotgun. We played a whole season through the Super Bowl and never played in anything but under center. So, I think it's all based on strengths and weaknesses. It's a process of what are your guys going to do best? How does everything fit together?"