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09-29-2010, 09:25 PM
Steelers preparing for Ray Rice

by Aaron Wilson
September 29, 02010
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OWINGS MILLS – Minutes before Ray Rice strolled through the locker room without limping despite a bruised right knee, Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee offered a prediction on the Pro Bowl running back’s status.

Although team officials stood in front of Rice and prevented him from conducting interviews, McGahee spoke authoritatively when asked if Rice will play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Ray's a competitor, so I doubt he's going to sit this game out. That's the kind of person that he is," McGahee said. "I don't know what's going on with him, but as far as I know, he was in the meetings with us. So why wouldn't he?”

Rice didn’t practice Wednesday and had a sleeve around his knee.

If Rice is sidelined or limited, McGahee could emerge as an important factor in Sunday’s pivotal AFC North showdown.

“I’m pretty sure I’m up for the challenge,” said McGahee, a former Pro Bowl runner. “If my number is called, I’ll step up to the plate.”

McGahee last started for Baltimore on Oct. 4, 2009 against the New England Patriots.

In the AFC championship game two years ago, he rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns before being knocked unconscious on a brutal hit by Steelers safety Ryan Clark.

Last season , McGahee scored 14 touchdowns despite only carrying the football 109 times with 15 receptions.

"I look at it as, let the young guy go out there and run around and get all the yards," McGahee said. "And when it comes down to touchdown time, that's when I come in. I'm content with that."

McGahee has rushed for 2,459 yards and 27 touchdowns since joining the Ravens, whose decision not to trade him is looking prescient now despite his $3.6 million salary.

McGahee hasn’t been utilized heavily this season, rushing for 37 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries with 29 yards coming Sunday when Rice banged up his knee against the Cleveland Browns on a four-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

McGahee is only averaging 2.3 yards per carry, but has three 1,000-yard rushing seasons and has gained 5,824 career yards with 51 touchdowns.

The Ravens could also involve Pro Bowl fullback Le’Ron McClain, who once rushed for 902 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“I hope Ray plays, I hope he can start and do the whole game,” McClain said. “If he doesn’t, Willis is ready to step his game up and become the starter and do his thing.”

Rice was one of only two running backs to pile up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage last season, joining Tennessee Titans star Chris Johnson.

"Ray is a great talent, but we have three pretty good running backs with Ray, Le'Ron and Willis,” center Matt Birk said. “All three have proven they can be more than effective. As far as blocked goes, you don't even realize who's in there."

The Ravens don’t plan on dramatically altering their blocking schemes based on Rice’s presence or lack thereof.

"We have our aiming points of what we're trying to do," offensive tackle Marshall Yanda said. "It's tailored to the play, and they make their reads or cuts off that."

The Steelers are anticipating that Rice will play and won’t be fooled by any rumors about his condition.

“We're just going to prepare with the assumption that this guy's going to play," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told Baltimore reporters during a conference call. "I think that's the prudent approach to take."

As far as the Steelers are concerned, the Ravens’ hard-nosed style won’t change if Rice is in the game or not.

The Ravens have rushed for 267 yards on 85 carries. They ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing last season, but are down to 23rd this year.

The Steelers’ run defense is ranked third overall, allowing just 59.7 yards per contest.

"In my opinion, their personality doesn't change very much in terms of how they attack us," Tomlin said. "That's been my experience in competing with those guys. Whether it's McClain as their featured running back, which we've seen, or it's McGahee or it's Ray Rice, they have a form and fashion in terms of how they attack us. Really, that's what we're preparing for."

McGahee smiled when asked if he knows he’s going to start.

And he joked with reporters as cameras pointed toward him when he walked onto the practice field.

The Ravens will likely attempt to keep Rice’s status a secret up until shortly before kickoff.

Depending on how his knee progresses, Rice could be a game-time decision.

"I don't know,” McGahee said. “I'm going to find out just like you guys are going to find out. I've been in the dark for the longest. Nothing's going to change."

09-29-2010, 10:07 PM
Good we dont want them to have any excuses when our QB with a speedy walker threads the needle all game, lol

09-29-2010, 10:35 PM
Ray Rice hasn't done squat yet this season-- he is riding on the coattails of last year's fame. The Ravens should be preparing for Mendenhall.....we will be ready for Ray Rice.

09-30-2010, 11:33 AM
I hate to admit it but Ray Rice is a beast. I have nightmares about him slipping in the tiniest of cracks on our D-line

09-30-2010, 11:36 AM
I hate to admit it but Ray Rice is a beast. I have nightmares about him slipping in the tiniest of cracks on our D-line

Ray Rice, Sidney Rice,,,Jerry Rice...RICE " O " Roni! I don't give a F! That overrated Scumbag Ain't getting SQUAT! Againt our D! :tt:

09-30-2010, 11:51 AM
I hate to admit it but Ray Rice is a beast. I have nightmares about him slipping in the tiniest of cracks on our D-line

Ray Rice was a shit talking punk when he came in the league.......He didn't do anything warented and he was still talkin shit constantly..........He deserves a big belated shot in the mouth............

09-30-2010, 11:58 AM
Ray Rice, Sidney Rice,,,Jerry Rice...RICE " O " Roni! I don't give a F! That overrated Scumbag Ain't getting SQUAT! Againt our D! :tt:

Rice did pretty well against us last year.

Before you start typing in all CAPS and getting angry, I will admit we were without Smith, Polamalu, and LT was on 2 bad ankles. Nevertheless, nobody else seemed to have much success running against us last year. That leaves me to believe perhaps Rice has our number. I hope he's not able to play.

09-30-2010, 12:12 PM
In that Big game Rice had last year, yes no Troy or Aaron. But Casey Hampton went out after the second series, and Timmons didn't play in the second half...actually he went into the locker room about 6 minutes before the half. And Rice had 98 Yds in the 2nd half alone. Rice is good yes. And I personally fear his catching abilities out of the back field more than I do his straight running. But he is NOT All World.

09-30-2010, 01:50 PM
It doesn't matter who we will be preparing for. Everyone knows the history that is this historic Steelers defensive line and how we set out to stop the run like our lives depend on it and worry about everything else later.

I understand Ray Rice was the last back to gain over 100 on us, but we are currently on a new terror streak and he will for sure to run into the likes of Mr. Smith, Mr. Polamalu and a rejuvenated Mr. Timmons this week.

We can game plan against a raging BULL and still be able to stop it. Bring it on.

09-30-2010, 02:14 PM
Lets not forget Rice is still some what banged up still, just because he's playing doesnt mean he's 100%. He maybe more banged up after this one.:noidea: