John Harbaugh: Ray Rice has 'burst' in Ravens camp


The Baltimore Ravens' 2013 rushing "attack" ranked as the fourth-worst in Football Outsiders' database going back to the 1989 season.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but Ray Rice's inability to make tacklers miss in the open field was the most obvious factor.

Playing through a season-long hip injury, Rice was so stiff in his movements that he was even compared to the snowsuit kid in "A Christmas Story."

The good news for Ravens fans is that a slimmed-down Rice appears to have recaptured 2012 form.

The Baltimore Sun noted early in training camp that the 27-year-old "looked like the Rice of old" and "his cuts were excellent."

Coach John Harbaugh confirmed as much after Monday's practice.

"Ray has looked really good," Harbaugh said, via CSN Baltimore. "Comparisons to years in the past -- we'll find all that out during the season. But he's in tremendous shape. I've seen him make a good lateral cut. He's got really good burst, acceleration is there, vision is there. He's been very patient with the zone runs. Ray looks really good."

It's refreshing to hear Harbaugh praising the lateral jump cuts that were noticeably missing from Rice's repertoire last season.

A healthier Bernard Pierce will open the season as the Ravens' early-down back as Rice serves his two-game suspension. All early-camp signs point to Rice resuming lead-back status as soon as he returns in late September.

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