Pat Ricard says what we're all thinking about Ravens AFC Championship gameplan

Ricard is not alone in his desire to run more
Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens
Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages

Fullback Pat Ricard played a humungous role in the Baltimore Ravens compiling the best running game in the NFL last season, as the gargantuan lead-blocker helped pave the way for Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson during the 2023 campaign.

The ground game was silenced in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who was a massive improvement over Greg Roman after turning Jackson into an MVP immediately, ran the ball just six times on designed runs.

In an appearance on Chris Long's "Green Light" podcast, Ricard channeled the frustrations of the Ravens fanbase. The beefy fullback remarked how the lack of a running game made them one-dimensional, which is a death sentence against Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs defense led by Steve Spagnuolo.

"We only ran the ball six times at running back and we had a couple positive runs," Ricard said. "I think the general public would agree that like, let's do what got us there at that point, we run the ball, we control the clock and we have our passing game as well obviously to complement everything...but I think once you get one-dimensional, it's tough."

Pat Ricard questions Ravens offensive game plan in AFC Championship Game

While Baltimore shouldn't necessarily be criticized for entering the Kansas City game with the thought that putting the ball in Jackson's hands gives them the best chance to win, Monken seemed to immediately go into panic mode as soon as the Chiefs took an early lead.

While Jackson's arm is good enough to win a lot of games by itself, taking the running game away makes him much less deadly. If Monken had it to do all over again, he likely wouldn't have been so committed to airing it out down the field.

The Ravens have made some big roster changes with the goal of building an even better rushing attack in 2024. The signing of Derrick Henry gives them a back they will need to feed when the going gets tough in the postseason, and they have invested in a new offensive line featuring internal draftees like Andrew Vorhees and rookie Roger Rosengarten.

The Ravens will likely be back in the postseason picture once again, giving Monken another chance to redeem himself in Ricard's eyes. Hopefully, he doesn't reinvent the wheel and is willing to stick the ball in Henry's gut quite often.