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John Harbaugh “can’t explain” why Ray Rice was out in first half

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The Ravens lost 34-17 to the Bengals on Sunday, ending their hopes of making it to the playoffs.

Running back Ray Rice spent most of the first half of that loss as an observer, playing only on the first and last series of the half before playing a larger role in the second half of the game. Rice was questionable on the Friday injury report because of a thigh injury, but coach John Harbaugh and Rice said after the game that he was for situational reasons.

On Tuesday, though, Harbaugh said he didn’t have an answer about why Rice was out when the topic came up during his season-ending press conference.

“I really can’t explain that adequately, in all honesty,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “That was something that happened during the game that, when I looked over and saw it, I put him back in the game. I don’t have that answer for you right now. He should’ve been out there.”

Rice’s role is one of many things that the Ravens will have to figure out during the offseason. He dropped to 3.1 yards per carry this season, some of which can certainly be explained by offensive line struggles. Harbaugh said he has “complete confidence and belief” in his coaches, including run game coordinator Juan Castillo, without ruling out changes in the staff.

Rice also had a hip injury early in the season, which clearly sapped him of some burst that never really reappeared as the season unfolded. Rice has averaged nearly 300 touches a year in his first six seasons, so staying healthy isn’t something Baltimore can take for granted moving forward. Bernard Pierce got more work this year as Rice’s No. 2, but his results were also down from last season which leaves several potential routes for the Ravens to take as they try to improve for next season.

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38 Responses to “John Harbaugh “can’t explain” why Ray Rice was out in first half”
  1. ravensdominate says: Dec 31, 2013 1:29 PM

    The reigning World Champs owe no one an explanation.

  2. grruffgrruff says: Dec 31, 2013 1:31 PM

    WoW…the head coach can’t tell you why he didn’t use one of his best players. Scratch my head…

  3. orivar says: Dec 31, 2013 1:32 PM

    The Ravens play calling the last few games was really stupid. 3rd & 2 and you pass even though your RBs were doing alright the few touches they got? I understand they’re retooling but the play calling really hurt them more than the new players.

  4. flipper14 says: Dec 31, 2013 1:38 PM

    I know Cam Cameron gets dumped on, and some of it is certainly deserved, but don’t underestimate his absence for the struggles in the running game. His offense have always been able to pound it.

  5. pfic15 says: Dec 31, 2013 1:38 PM

    Ray Rice. You killed my fantasy team. Enjoy your off season like I’m enjoying mine.

  6. jakec4 says: Dec 31, 2013 1:39 PM

    Bisciotti hopefully steps in and forces Castillo out. Give him a hands off front office job or something. This is why I hate it when coaches hire friends. Their loyalty becomes a liability. How many years did we have to suffer when Billick refused to get rid of his best buddy Matt Cavanaugh.

  7. apex4613 says: Dec 31, 2013 1:41 PM

    But hey, they got their “elite” QB

  8. tvjules says: Dec 31, 2013 1:48 PM

    Why didn’t he ask Jim Caldwell, his offensive coordinator?

  9. azarkhan says: Dec 31, 2013 1:49 PM

    So who is the offensive coordinator for the Ravens, Jim Caldwell? Hard to believe that an article that wonders why the Ravens top running back wasn’t in the game doesn’t mention Jimbo’s name. I’m sure there must be a reason….

  10. johnnybgood19 says: Dec 31, 2013 1:51 PM

    Rice is done as a feature running back in the nfl… I cant say why (dont know) but he has lost the edge and when its gone its gone!

    The ravens will need to give him another season but next year at this time the mock drafts will be listing RB as the ravens top need…. unless it is QB that is….

  11. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 31, 2013 1:55 PM

    Pretty easy to explain. Harbag needs to spend less time whining and baiting the refs for calls and more on watching his terrible offense fail. I am surprised you Raven fans didn’t notice considering that you are the smartest fans in the NFL….hahahahahahahaha .

  12. footballfan01 says: Dec 31, 2013 2:00 PM

    Rice is washed up. He was just going through the motions this year and collecting a paycheck. From superstar to superbust in one season.

  13. weepingjebus says: Dec 31, 2013 2:01 PM

    “Stuffed on 4th-and-inches against the Pats” strategic benching. The Harbaughs are all smiles and waves when things are going well, but they’ll knife with you with a quickness if things turn.

  14. backdapack4evr says: Dec 31, 2013 2:09 PM

    I can’t explain how joe flacco won a Super Bowl!! You know, like Trent dillfer!!

  15. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 31, 2013 2:10 PM

    Come on there is an obvious answer Coach. Just man up to being preoccupied with whining to the refs….John Harbag says….who needs Ray Rice when I can berate the refs for favorable calls.

  16. notoriousbri says: Dec 31, 2013 2:19 PM

    Hey Diddle Diddle.. Ray Rice did very little

  17. claymatthewshairplugs says: Dec 31, 2013 2:23 PM

    I don’t know it might have something to do with Ray Rice and his 2.8 ypc on the year…

  18. Joemontanaflacco says: Dec 31, 2013 2:24 PM

    “Come on there is an obvious answer Coach. Just man up to being preoccupied with whining to the refs….John Harbag says….who needs Ray Rice when I can berate the refs for favorable calls.”

    Speaking of calls, how many yards did the Steelers lose when Tomlin tried to trip Jacoby Jones, or when Cody Wallace fisted Randy Starks, or when Garvin maimed a punter? Oh, I know. They all paid enormous fines instead. Like the criminals.

  19. afcdomination says: Dec 31, 2013 2:29 PM

    beats Romeo Crennel saying “I don’t know” after being asked about Charles getting 4-5 carries.

  20. ravensdominate says: Dec 31, 2013 2:32 PM

    Why does everyone hate on Flacco so much lol?! The guy is so hated. What did he do that was so wrong??? Should he apologize for having more wins than Brady, breez and Rogers since he came in to the league?? Should he apologize for winning Super Bowl MVP during his contract year??? I don’t get it. He is relentlessly hated on. He just won a the Super Bowl! What else is your team’s goals every year?!?!?

  21. chawk12thman says: Dec 31, 2013 2:34 PM

    He was honest but shouldn’t have been. Shows how little he has to do with the actual game while it is being played. However, he should have gotten the answer to the obvious question before press conference. Shows how little he thinks of the press and the questions they may ask.

  22. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 31, 2013 2:38 PM

    Speaking of calls, how many yards did the Steelers lose when Tomlin tried to trip Jacoby Jones, or when Cody Wallace fisted Randy Starks, or when Garvin maimed a punter? Oh, I know. They all paid enormous fines instead. Like the criminals.

    Like the criminals. When you speak about Ray Lewis you use criminal not criminals. Come on skippy you know better.

  23. lance19 says: Dec 31, 2013 2:50 PM

    John Harbaugh may be the luckiest guy in the NFL. I’m not saying he’s a bad coach, just that if it weren’t for the utterly atrocious behavior of JIM Harbaugh, John would be known as one of the least likable guys in the league. John has the good fortune to have a brother who makes him look decent, by comparison…

  24. ravensballsohard says: Dec 31, 2013 2:52 PM

    Easy… because Ray Rice blows… Pierce and Scott both played better. Run game was non-existent in the second half with Ray Rice in.

  25. joewilliesshnoz says: Dec 31, 2013 3:02 PM

    I’m sure it was the Steelers’ fault, their fans blame everything else on them.

  26. guitarkevin says: Dec 31, 2013 3:39 PM

    We had ZERO running game this year. And that was with Pierce, Rice and the best FB in the league Leach.
    The problem is the O-LINE. Gradkowski sucks and our only other options at center are a career practice team guy in A.Q. Shipley or a rookie 6th round pick.

  27. scoobies05 says: Dec 31, 2013 4:12 PM

    the funny thing about you making fun of harbaugh whining is the article yesterday about tomlin whining about a call in a game the steelers weren’t even involved in. happy new year

  28. Joemontanaflacco says: Dec 31, 2013 4:19 PM

    “the funny thing about you making fun of harbaugh whining is the article yesterday about tomlin whining about a call in a game the steelers weren’t even involved in. happy new year”

    Pretty sure Nofool meant that comment as sarcastic. Even he knows that Steelers fans lead the league in whining every year while the players figure out new ways to make the game more filthy.

  29. crownofthehelmet says: Dec 31, 2013 4:52 PM

    You don’t need to answer to anyone Harbs, you’re the coach of the SB Champs, you can do whatever you wish. I can think of 31 teams that would jump at the chance for you to coach them.

  30. scoobies05 says: Dec 31, 2013 6:16 PM

    you are the man. happy new year brother

  31. whiteyj69 says: Dec 31, 2013 6:33 PM

    Why do Ravens fans insist on lying to their selves? Each year believing their team is best in the NFL? That Joe Flacco is above replacement level? Seriously, your team has very little talent remaining. It’s gonna be awhile till your next playoff game. Best prepare for the dark days. Don’t worry though, the Steelers fans will be right there with you.

  32. Nofoolnodrool says: Dec 31, 2013 6:39 PM

    “the funny thing about you making fun of harbaugh whining is the article yesterday about tomlin whining about a call in a game the steelers weren’t even involved in. happy new year”

    Pretty sure Nofool meant that comment as sarcastic. Even he knows that Steelers fans lead the league in whining every year while the players figure out new ways to make the game more filthy.

    I guess being the most penalized D in the league would qualify you on dirty play. Being a a Steeler basher doesn’t qualify you as a truthful commentor. Ssshhh skippy time for bed.

  33. vincentbojackson says: Dec 31, 2013 7:05 PM

    Could have something to do with the fact he’s a non-factor.

    It’s not uncommon for a top back to lose steam at the end of his career, but Rice’s drop off this year was astonishing.

    He had a good run, but it appears time to put a bullet in this once-proud workhorse.

  34. scoobies05 says: Dec 31, 2013 8:12 PM

    maybe we thought we were the best because we won the superbowl?

  35. crownofthehelmet says: Dec 31, 2013 8:16 PM

    You too man. Give that 4yr old of yours an extra high five tomorrow bro.

  36. jiggy3198 says: Dec 31, 2013 10:48 PM

    Then comes down to this Rogers Manning Manning breeze and Brady all suck because they have less wins then Joe Flacco does as an NFL quarterback since 2008. anybody who thinks Flacco sucks just look at his NFL records and look at his wins. As many Super Bowl’s Rogers as many super Bowls as Manning so please stop with the hate all he does is win

  37. scoobies05 says: Jan 1, 2014 12:51 PM

    will do my friend. be safe

  38. whiteyj69 says: Jan 3, 2014 12:13 AM

    121 Tds to 78 picks in 6 seasons. That’s hardly “elite”.

    A 2:1 TD/ INT through 13 playoff games. That’s average as well.

    Keep hearing about these QB wins, you know the one stat most football experts find to be irrelevant as a performance indicator. Keep trying to justify your “elite” QB and his ridiculous salary, and enjoy the cellar.

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