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Gary Kubiak: Ray Rice is big part of Ravens' success

The new offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens says Ray Rice will remain the engine of the team's offense in 2014.

"I think as he goes, we'll go," Gary Kubiak told the Ravens' official website Friday. "Our goal is to get him going, and he's excited to get going and put last year behind him."

Rice never found his footing in 2013. He had his worst numbers since he was a rookie, finishing with 660 rushing yards, 3.1 yards per carry and four touchdowns. The former All-Pro was slowed by a hip injury that lingered throughout the season. In November, a rare burst into the open field prompted one local reporter to quip that Rice "looked like a little kid in a snowsuit."

So yeah, it was a bad season. Kubiak believes it can be left in the past.

"We've just got to get him going, doing what he does best, and that's us studying him and fitting him with our system and those type of things," Kubiak said. "We've got to get Ray going. That's the bottom line."

Kubiak has long been a proponent of the zone-blocking scheme, which he found great success with both in Houston and Denver. He envisions using Rice and Bernard Pierce in a similar manner to how he used Arian Foster and Ben Tate with the Texans. A shared workload makes sense for the undersized Rice, who's accumulated 2,027 touches in his first six seasons.

"I think in this league nowadays you need a couple of guys," Kubiak said. "It's hard to hand it to one guy 30 times a game; they just get worn down. It'll take both of them. They're very talented and if we can get both of them going, the better we'll be."

This all sounds like a solid plan, but the success of Baltimore's backfield ultimately comes down to which version of Rice shows up. If he can't bounce back, the Ravens will have a serious problem.

On the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys huddle with Seahawks trio Michael Robinson, Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant before unpacking Cleveland's week of chaos.

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