The Baltimore Ravens have worked hard at improving the depth chart at wide recei ver and at tight end over the last couple of seasons and this offseason the Ravens signed wide receiver Mike Wallace and tight end Ben Watson. But there are questions at runningback. Are the Ravens good to go in the backfield? I'm not so sure.
- Ravens runningback Justin Forsett had a breakout season in 2014 as he rushed for over 1,200 yards and was selected to his first ever Pro Bowl. His 2015 season was cut short due to a broken arm.
- Ravens second year runningback Buck Allen had a nice rookie campaign in 2015 rushing for over 500 yards with limited carries.
- Runningback Terrance West is looking to rejuvenate his career as he in on his third team going on three seasons after being selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Ravens are about to sign free agent Trent Richardson to help bolster the position in the next couple of weeks. What does Forsett have to say about the Ravens runningback position? He still believes he has something to prove.
I'm a 5-8, 190-pound running back, so I always have to prove myself. It's no different," noted via BaltimoreRavens.com "Each year nothing is promised, so I just have to go out and work and show what I've been doing over the last eight or nine years."
Can Forsett get back to his 2014 form? Is Allen in for a breakout year or a sophomore slump? Can we really expect anything out of Richardson that we haven't already seen? Is West ready to show his potential? What about Terrence Magee and Lorenzo Taliaferro? The Ravens don't have a definitive answer to any of these questions and the offense could very well suffer because of it.
We have to take into account that we still don't know what kind of quarterback Joe Flacco will be to start the season as he is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. Flacco could be rusty which in turn could pause the Ravens passing attack despite the talent the Ravens have in that area. Putting the offense on Flacco's shoulders early in the season wouldn't be wise and the running game has to play a factor in lifting unit as a whole.
The Ravens, despite the offensive weapons it has at wide receiver and at tight end, is still a team that prides itself on being physical at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball while running the ball and stopping the run. The answer to the Ravens rushing attack could be in the 2016 NFL Draft and I certainly wouldn't be opposed to the Ravens selecting one. A big downhill runner would be nice adding more versatility to the Ravens ground game as the team has struggled converting on third down and short yardage situations over the last few years.
What will the NFL's ban on chop blocks mean for the Ravens?
With the NFL making all chop blocks illegal, it remains to be seen how the running game will be overall going forward not only for the Ravens, but for the other 31 teams in the league as well. However, if there is one question we can answer, it is that the Ravens zone blocking scheme should be fine because cut blocks are still legal.
Cut blocks come into play when a blocker goes below the waist on a defender in a one-on-one situation. Chop blocks occur when a defender is engaged with one blocker and another blocker enters the frame to cut the defender down below the waist.
The Ravens zone blocking scheme relies on cut blocks quite a bit so there shouldn't be much to worry about for the Ravens in that regard. The depth at runningback still has a lot of questions.