Skins-Ravens 411 presented by AAA: Battle of the backs
Ray Rice may be small, but his performance isn’t.
In fact, Redskins’ defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Thursday that he considers containing Rice to be his unit’s biggest challenge Sunday.
“First of all, he’s a great football player, not just in the run game but the pass game, too,” Haslett said of the Ravens' top running back. “His route running, his pass receiving, screens.”
Rice, who is generously listed at 5 foot 8, 212 pounds, is tied for fourth in the NFL in rushing touchdowns with eight and is 12th in yards with 872. The 25-year-old is also the third ranked back in receiving yards with 409, which includes five catches of over 20 yards.
The Redskins’ defense, meantime, ranks fourth-best against the run, holding opponents to 91.5 yards per game.
“That’s our No. 1 goal," Haslett said. "You have to handle Ray.”
Two weeks ago, Rice made the highlights when he converted a fourth and 29 to help the Ravens force the Chargers into overtime. Afterward, Rice famously told reporters, “Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle.”
Rice was just having fun, of course. But this much isn't up for debate: He’s dominant between the tackles and is one of the hardest running backs to bring down.
And that’s got Haslett concerned.
“When he’s running the ball, you have to be ready for spin moves, stiff arms,” Haslett said. “He’s violent when he runs the ball. You have to know where he’s at all times and you have to gang tackle him. One guy is not getting him down, not going to happen. You have to have three or four guys getting to him.”