John Harbaugh Sounds Off: “We Can’t Run The Ball Right Now”

Bernard Pierce - John Harbaugh on Ravens running game

“We can’t run the ball right now,” John Harbaugh told the media after the Ravens dreadful 24-18 loss in Cleveland to the Browns. “We have our work cut out for us.”

The $40 million man, Ray Rice, rushed four 17 yards on 11 carries. That’s an average of 1.5 yards per carry. The Ravens longest running play of the game? 15 yards — from quarterback Joe Flacco.

Bernard Pierce wasn’t any better, 6 carries for 11 yards (1.8 yards per carry).

Of the Ravens numerous concerns, the running game is the one that worries me the most. I didn’t likeRice’s contract extension back when he signed it in July of last season and now I think it’s pretty evident that Rice will ultimately be cut before he finishes that five-year deal.

Rice has rushed for 242 yards this season, he’s on pace for 553. The Ravens offensive line has been absolutely horrific, but Rice hasn’t done himself any favors either.

At 3-5, the Ravens are behind the Browns and Bengals in the AFC North. They’re now 1-4 on the road and 1-2 in the division after losing three straight.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

34 Comments

  1. Ravfans

    November 4, 2013 at 4:42 am

    How fast we jump off the wagon, Yeah the Ravens can’t run the football, and yeah the o line stinks. But I can’t see how the no run game is all on Rice. Flacco has been off target all year, receivers are running under the long ball when they can the short ball are not on target. We have a bunch of new player that will take some time to jell, I don’t think now is the time to further rebuild the team, just a player hear and there (we’re young) Yes we have problems but no one promised us a Super Bowl every year. The Ravens are still one of the top ten franchises in the game, and just like the rest of the top teams I expect to have a down season, look at the teams that have been down for years and count our blessings

    • europoljuice

      November 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Wagon? Really…ever since the start of the OTA’s, preseason and now half of the regular season. It’s been horrible! It’s not a questions about jumping on or off. It’s a question about the so called NEW offence. It sucks and that is pure fact! I don’t know whats going on with Harbaugh and Castillo and Caldwell, but someone better open there eye’s! How much longer do you want to pretend it isn’t a problem?? It was a leak and now it’s a flood! Everyone know that the Zone Blocking is designed for nimble athletic line men. We have ( and always have had ) tough brutal and mean bullies up front who push around the opponent. Now we have to ask everyone to change because Caldwell & Castillo think Flacco is Payton!
      No excuse for any of them! The lack discipline is evident. How many times can you watch Joe Flacco under throw a receiver that was wide open!! It happens every game!! The line can’t run block and can’t pass block! You can put your head in the sand and act like it’s all good, BUT it’s not. Just ask the players around the team!!

    • Jimmy carter sr

      November 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Look, ball games are played to be won or loss. Football is playedw so that the better team will win. Sometime the better team is on the field but their team mates are not doing their best, so the other team win the game. Things will get better. Remember it took five years to build a championship team. We will be back.

    • Ely

      November 5, 2013 at 3:38 am

      I think Castillo have to go.The offensive line is not doing good pass or run blocking.Pierce seeming alittle more elusive then Rice.Flacco is way off targets.He’s known for his strong arm.He’s been under throwing his receivers,a lot.He’s never been an accurate passer.To his credit,he’s been to the playoffs & won at least 1 playoff game.If it wasn’t for “Housmadaeh dropping a pass a few years ago & a drop pass by Evans & miss FG.The Ravens might of been to a few Superbowls.Flacco don’t give that such knowledge likes the such of the Brees,P.Manning,Brady.But he’s a winner…As far as the guys that left,they was getting old.Pollard is good but he’s only a good hitter,Reed can’t tackle & his INT’S are going down,Boldin did well in the playoffs,Kruger 1yr,wonder,Ellerbeee-hurt pronee,Birk-retire,Lewis-retire.Birk pprobably the one we missed the most because he can recognize defenses.It’s bad wwhen Webb & Yanda been suspect so far.I think they’re hurting more tthan we know.Yanda missing assigments & Webb getting torched is un-heard of the last couple of years.I think we have better WR’S now if they can stay healthy.Get rid of Dickson & ccan’t wait to Pita come back.Stokley was suppose to be a 3rd down back.he can’t stay healthy.Division is not looking good,so we”re in good shape..Once you get in,anything can happen like last year.

  2. Ravens2488

    November 4, 2013 at 7:01 am

    You are now seeing the bloom come off of Flacco and Harbaughs rose… They will now be shown for what they really have been for years, a mediocre QB and a clueless Head Coach. Gone are the real coaches that had this team jelling, guys like Lewis, Reed, Jarret Johnson, Bernard Pollard, Boldin, etc… Now that Harbaugh has his “Yes” men, guys that won’t talk back to him, this team is on it’s downward spiral…

    This is all on the most overpaid player in football, Flacco and the most clueless Head Coach Harbaugh.

    Oh yeah, BTW, I’m a Ravens fan but I asin’t a “Homer”. I call them as I see them…

    • Michael

      November 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

      I agree with everything you are saying with the exception of Harbaugh…

    • Oscar

      November 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Lewis, Reed, and all the player coaches were around long before Harbaugh. At one point, we were missing the play offs every other season under Billick.. Sooo, my point is the real coach is on the field. We lack toughest and play makers.

  3. MGW

    November 4, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Coaches Lewis, Reed, and Boldin are gone and the assistant – Harbaugh – is left.

    It’ll take him a while to get up to speed, but I’m sure he’ll catch on.

    Bisciotti, The GM, is what has to have you more worried. No way Ozzie would have been dumb enough to give a RB with 5 years in the league an extension like Stevie gave Rice.

    Loyalty is nice in the business world, Steve, but giving a running back with 5 years worth of mileage on him an extension was a salary cap blunder of high proportion.

    • Michael

      November 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Yes, I agree. But the Flaco deal will eventually go down as one of the biggest mistakes in NFL history. Maybe it seems crazy, but I would have let him walk away as an UFA instead of signing him to that deal. And I did say that a week or two before the Ravens did the deal!

  4. Ravens2488

    November 4, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I’m waiting for the clowns to come on and say “Why you busting on Flacco and jumping off the bandwagon? Flacco has a Super Bowl ring”…

    And I will say, “So does Trent Dilfer, Jim Plunkett, Mark Rypien, Jim McMahon, Brad Johnson, Jeff Hostetler, Doug Williams… Case Closed!”

    • Michael

      November 4, 2013 at 11:37 am

      Couldn’t have said it better myself…Their are a lot of smart people in posting here.

      • Craig

        November 6, 2013 at 7:48 am

        Well, I guess Atlanta (Matt Ryan), Dallas (Tony Romo) and some other franchises have to really feel like dumb asses. The paid their quarterbacks tons of money and they do not have nearly the resume Joe Flacco does! Joe is deserving of the contract he signed. You and serval others (Michael) are obvious haters of the Ravens and Joe Flacco.

        And the notion that Ray Rice was undeserving of his contract extension after the previous four years of HIGH level production is absolutely ridiculous!!!!! What about Bernard Pierce? He is only a second year running back. Is the lack of running game his fault too!? Maybe its his contract too huh? The statements you people spewing out are reckless and foolish! The Ravens issues running the ball start with the scheme and the personnel they have up front period! Ray Rice is one of the hardest working players on that team.

  5. Jordan23

    November 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I love every comment on here. Ravens are in trouble. Flacco and the head coach rode the bandwagon for years. Then thought they could do it. Ran off our quality players. Reed and ray had one more year. Reduce the snaps. Bolden was our number 1. And we didn’t use him right for years. Pollard had big hits that got us to the bowl. Ray rice has been the offense since flacco has been here. Remember the check down? Flacco sucks. Our defends ain’t the problem. But if we leave them on the field all day they get tired. They are people too. Flacco doesn’t even study plays on the side line. He does not talk with coaches or recievers. Head coach is always making stupid calls. His gambles never pay out. Watching my ravens on Sundays is very depressing now. Flacco has been outplayed by every quaterback we faced. Besides Houston the rest of our wins were luck. Time for hotrod Taylor anyone?

    • Tyler

      November 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Kinda hard to say Ray had one more year when he chose to retire. Tell him, “no, you’ll stick around and watch your team fall apart. Nevermind the storybook ending you deserved and got.” And Ed Reed, we simply couldn’t afford. No question. He is way overpaid and should’ve retired a Champion and a Raven.

      • Oscar

        November 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm

        Spot on Tyler.

    • phil opal

      November 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      I agree Taylor should have his shot. Flacco is missing go to guys like. Pitta and. Boldin Bold in should never have left. If we stroke out with a loss to the Bengals I would see situations where Taylor should play. We suck in the first quarter

  6. Charlie Russell

    November 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Leach gets in on two plays? You have the best blocking fullback in football and he gets in on two plays? Then you wonder why you can’t run the ball?

  7. Ravens2488

    November 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Wow Jordan 23! Your spot on! I’ve been saying that for years about Flacco not studying or talking to his receivers!

    Watch Manning, Rodgers, Brady, Brees on the sideline. They are looking at pictures, talking to their linemen or receivers about plays, etc. Flacco sits by himself and does nothing. Another note. Do you see any players talking to him. It’s like he’s a Prima Donna. And Harbaugh… He stands there with headphones on like he knows whats going on.

    • The Commish

      November 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      Flacco is an above average QB that got hot at the right time and rode the wave. Now he is collecting a monster paycheck but that is the business in the NFL. Nobody put a gun to the Ravens head to sign him but they obviously didn’t see a better option. He is not elite but he is not horrible either. Harbaugh has .648 regular season winning % and a .692 playoff winning % in five seasons. You are an idiot if you think he didn’t have something to do his own success. It looks like there are personal agenda’s working here from the same guys who were cheering this team 8 months ago. You guys suck as fans jumping on the team at the first sign of issues in five seasons. Are there problems, of course, but you arm chair GM’s couldn’t fix anything if the answer was given to you. COme up with a solution instead of bashing what has already been done. @ssholes!

  8. Bob

    November 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    It all starts with the Offensive line ! Fix the line coach problem and the Offense will be better.

    • Oscar

      November 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      I agree Bob…. fire Don Juan and our problems go away. Flacco was the same Flacco that went for 11 TDs in the playoffs with no interceptions. The guy is our leading rusher on Sunday because we have no O line. Period, end of story. I do think that lil Ray Ray has lost his burst and tenacity (one hit and he is on the ground these days), however the defense is solid, our receivers get a B+, and yes we have one of the best QBs in the league…..WHEN IT COUNTS!! Oh btw… Dickson has got to go…. he lacks heart, toughness, and focus…. not a Raven.

    • Matt Lund

      November 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Agree to a certain extent Bob, but firing a coach (one that had no business being hired) won’t fix anything. This line is poor right now and not executing. Why fix something that was never broken in the first place?

      • Oscar

        November 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        Matt,
        that is the problem. Juan Castillo came to us with a big chest looking to make changes… I would have been ok with a yes man in this posiiton. Castillo broke a solid O line. Ballers like Marshall Yanda is now missing assignments and we lose one of the best LT in the game. Castillo is single-handedly bringing us down and making us look like a rebuiding team instead of returning champs.

  9. The Intimidator

    November 5, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Jimmy Carter… Weren’t you voted as the worst President in history because your an idiot and never knew what the hell you were talking about? Looks like you haven’t changed!

  10. Carl

    November 6, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Craig – Your loyalty to players is something every fan should emmulate, but NOT an NFL GM.

    Remember this article: http://baltimoresportsreport.com/the-ravens-should-franchise-ray-rice-in-2012-and-2013-25382.html

    Zach and Jamison Hemsley were “spot on”.

    In this salary cap era, you can’t reward pleyers for past performance. Well, you can, but injuries and ineffectiveness will be your reward.

    THIS IS A BUSINESS.

    Ray may “work hard”, but his shelf life is nearing a quick and abrupt end, the way most NFL backs do.

    Wear his jersey proudly, he helped the team win a Super Bowl…but his best days are behind him…history shows this.

  11. Carl

    November 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    So, Mr. Commish, we have the pot calling the kettle black.

    We really appreciate your insightfulness and your constructive criticism of our thoughts.

    Nothing like adding to the debate by calling people “idiots” and “@ssholes”. Those phrases really encourage rational and free flowing debate and gave tremendous credibility and credence to your side of the debate.

  12. The Commish

    November 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Well Carl, I like the fact you are sticking up for your boyfriend 2488. I thought I would have to move the discussion into the gutter so he could understand what I was saying. Didn’t want to put too mnay big words into the discussion.

  13. 9inchnails

    November 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    The Commish sounds a lot like Spy,,,,,,,

    • The Commish

      November 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      OK, back to a normal discussion. Where does a .648 regular season and .698 post season record in five seasons put Harbaugh? Don’t get me wrong, he is no genius but I also don’t think he is as inept as you would say. And don’t tell me he was given the team on a silver platter when they were 5-11, 13-3, 6-10, 9-7, 10-6 the previous five seasons with 0, yes ZERO playoff wins?

      • Carl

        November 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

        Where does one world series win put Joe Altobelli?

        I’ll tell you where, the right place at the right time.

        Harbaugh had the tremendous good fortune of having three hall of famers at the helm during his tenure – Lewis, Reed, and Boldin.

        Not many coaches get that kind if roster to take over?

        And talk about the team Harbaugh inherited? He got a team in which the owner had castrated the previous owner just the offseason before calling the man on the carpet just one off season removed.

        Know you history, Commish. I know you just jumped ont the bandwagon 4-5 seasons ago. You probably even found Harbaugh to be cute and that’s why you became a fan.

        To you, Michael Jackson is a pop star who wore one sequin glove and hung around Webster.

  14. Carl

    November 6, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    *previois coach, not owner

  15. The Commish

    November 7, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Altobelli was given the team that won a WS. Harbaugh was given a team with a rookie QB that took time to mesh. How many rings did Lewis, Reed, and Boldin have before they all came together to win in last season? ONE with Lewis. Like I said Harbaugh makes mistakes, but don’t act as if he had nothing to do with the Championship last season. From what I heard Reed isn’t having much success in Houston this season and is one of the most disliked players on the team. I don’t think he was much of a leader, the guy used to be able to play but I don’t think he was ever a leader in the locker room. He always marched to the beat of his own drum.

  16. MGW

    November 7, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Only time will prove who is right.

    I say Harbaugh never comes close to matching the success he had with Hall of Famers Lewis, Reed, and Boldin on the team.

    You disagree and that’s fine. Again, time will tell.

    Harbaugh’s Winning Percentage without Lewis on the club? .375.

  17. The Commish

    November 7, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Boldin’s winning % prior to joining Harbaugh .419
    Lewis’s .500
    Reeds’s .446

    Flacco and Harbaughs winning % since being in the NFL . 648