By Daniel Benjamin
Bye weeks can be either good or bad for NFL teams. In the case of the Baltimore Ravens, their bye week couldn't have come at a better time.
Baltimore wrapped its last practice of the week on October 26. The Ravens now have four days off to rest up and work on correcting their issues.
Ravens Looking To Improve Running Attack, Rookie Kenneth Davis May Get More Opportunities In The Coming Weeks
Baltimore has a multitude of problems on both sides of the ball. But the one issue that popped up against the New York Jets on Sunday was its running attack. The Ravens finished the game with a franchise-low six yards on the ground versus the Jets.
While the six rushing yards is rather pathetic, there could be a few explanations. The first reason is that the Jets have one of the best defensive fronts in all of football, and were ranked No. 1 against the run a couple of weeks ago. Another issue is that the Ravens' offensive line has been in shambles due to injuries. Play calling has also been a problem as the Ravens had just 12 rushing attempts, compared to 44 passes, against the Jets. Granted, they would have had more rushing yards had Terrence West's 53-yard scamper in the second quarter not been called back as a result of rookie left tackle Alex Lewis' holding penalty.
"The next two days we have some ideas we've been working on. This will be an opportunity to try some things," coach John Harbaugh said. "If it becomes some other thing we can add to the mix, some things we take out, that's what you do in the bye week. But we have to get it going. There's no question about it. That's not even close. That's not even where we're going to be."
Harbaugh added one thing that he would like to do is get fourth-round draft pick Kenneth Dixon more involved. Dixon had just one carry against the Jets for no gain. This season, the Louisiana Tech product has carried the ball six times for 10 yards and has three receptions for an additional six yards.
The Ravens haven't been great on the ground all year, ranking 25th in the league in rushing yards and 26th in yards per carry. But they totaled 98 rushing yards against the New York Giants in Week 6, and went for 118 yards against the Washington Redskins in Week 5. Plus, West has averaged 76.25 yards per game over the past four contests.
Devin Hester May Not Remain As Punt Returner
Hester has struggled recently with injuries, and he put the ball on the ground twice in the game against the Jets -- one of the fumbles went out of bounds and the Ravens recovered the other.
Hester leads the league with a 28.8 kickoff return average thanks in large part to his 60-yard return against the Oakland Raiders. He also had a 40-yard return against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. But the 33-year-old is just averaging 6.2 yards per punt return, though the bigger issue is that he has fumbled four times in 21 total returns.
The Ravens do have several options if they decide to replace Hester. They could go with rookie WR Chris Moore or veteran CB Ladarius Webb. A couple of other options include promoting Asa Jackson or Keenan Reynolds from the practice squad or signing a free agent like Michael Campanaro.
The Ravens May Trade WR Kamar Aiken
There are rumors floating around that the Ravens may be willing to trade veteran receiver Kamar Aiken. The 27-year-old led the team with 75 catches last year, but he only has 13 receptions on 23 targets through seven games. Aiken has mainly been regulated to special teams and appears destined to return to that role once Steve Smith Sr. returns.
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