Ray Rice is using last season’s adversity as fuel for a redemption campaign in 2014.
The Ravens’ running back battled a hip injury, which limited his ability to make cuts and accelerate. The injury persisted all season and hindered Rice’s ability to explode for big gains.
“I played through an injury and I probably should have thought twice about it, but I’m glad I was able to push through the season and not have any surgical procedures,” said Rice, who was speaking at an event promoting BODYARMOR Superdrink. “One thing I know my body needed was rest, and we had a tough turnaround, and we didn’t do what we wanted to this year, but I’m positive that things are looking better for next year already. We’ll get this thing rolling again."
For an offense that is built around the run, the Ravens were never able to adapt to Juan Castillo’s zone-based schemes. The Ravens’ rushing offense finished last in the NFL in yards per carry. Castillo, who was hired to be the team’s run game coordinator, has been tabbed as the offensive line coach for next season. The Ravens’ running game should be buoyed by the hiring of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
Kubiak’s stretch-zone scheme suits the Ravens’ personnel more naturally. Opposed to relying on the passing game of Joe Flacco, Kubiak prefers balance and using the run to set up the pass. The offensive linemen will be called upon to move laterally, and the running backs must thrive in a one-cut system.
Rice is only 27 years old, so he shouldn't be hitting the wall age-wise. It sounds as if he never fully recovered from the hip injury, so a bounce back season is entirely possible if he can stay healthy in 2014. Kubiak's arrival should help as well.