McClain Showing Promise at Tailback

August 26, 2008 |

Since everyone else in Baltimore is going to comment on the offensive line and the quarterback derby, I have decided to focus on one of the bright spots from Saturday night–the play of fullback Le’Ron McClain as the featured tailback. McClain had 41 yards on eight carries vs. the Rams and showed a good combination of power and swiftness. Especially true when you consider that the 260 pound second year pro from Alabama is better known for blowing up linebackers and safeties than trying to elude them. 
McClain’s prowess running the ball, besides giving the Ravens great depth, also allows them to use more of Lorenzo Neal, one of the great lead blockers in the history of the National Football League. 
With the solid play of rookie Ray Rice, Ravens starting feature back Willis McGahee–he of the questionable work ethic and bad knee–better get back soon. The Ravens are quietly developing other options, including one that was already in the backfield. If “Wounded Knee” Willis was healthy, McClain’s emergences could allow the team to start the season with only four backs on the roster.    
McClain’s progress carrying the ball should be something very interesting to watch as the season progresses.   A big bruising back can be very useful not only in short yardage, but also to wear down a defense, especially for a team with a questionable quarterback situation.