Turns out, all those pleas for the Ravens to trade Willis McGahee for draft picks were a bit premature.
Sep/26/10 11:00 PM Filed in: Willis McGahee
Willis McGahee ran for 29 yards on seven carries in the Ravens' Week 3 win over Cleveland.
Ray Rice injured his knee on the Ravens' third-to-last possession, so McGahee took over as the lead back on the final two drives. Rice's injury is not expected to be long term, but he could miss the Ravens' Week 4 game at Pittsburgh. If so, McGahee would become the starting running back.
Maybe Ray Rice will be fine, and maybe he'll be zipping around Heinz Field next week like a remote control car, dodging and weaving his way through the Steelers defense. But if he isn't -- and even if he is, how can he be 100 percent? -- at least the Ravens don't have to panic. As frustrating as it is for those who play fantasy football, the reality of the NFL is that you need to have two tailbacks. You do your best to keep them both happy, and it doesn't always work, but if you rely on one too much and he gets hurt, suddenly you have to throw a guy into the lineup who hasn't played all season and isn't ready and might not understand your protections, your audibles or be in shape to carry the load.
People like to say having McGahee is a luxury, but really, it's a necessity in the modern NFL. That's why Ozzie Newsome didn't shop him too hard.
"Everybody on this team knows what Willis is capable of," Heap said. "We've seen him make play after play in this league for our team. It's good to have a guy of his caliber right behind Ray Rice. If Ray goes down, he's going to step up."
The one issue I think the Ravens may have is that Rice is so quick through the hole, the offensive line just has to give him a glimmer of daylight and he'll get through it. McGahee isn't quite as quick, but he still has enough burst to pick up five and six yards a carry.Click here to order Willis McGahee’s proCane Rookie Card.