OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The talk of the Ravens' locker room was the trade for Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Eugene Monroe. Most players said they were surprised, and others talked about how this is just part of the business.
Running back Ray Rice offered the best perspective, saying it's going to take more than changing one player on the offensive line to get the 28th-ranked running game back on track.
"We have to match the other team's intensity when we go out there to even want to be able to be effective in the run game." Rice said. "I don't have one guy on my offensive line on this team saying, 'We're going to screw this play up.' But what we're doing is, sometimes a guy wants it a little bit more on the other side. That's what we have to do, we have to fight that. We have to match the other team's intensity. Because everyone's getting a hat on a hat. We've just got to hold the blocks a little longer and we'll be fine."
Rice is exactly right. When it comes to running the ball, it's about attitude. The Ravens had only one Pro Bowl lineman when Jamal Lewis ran for over 2,000 yards in 2003, but they had a physical group that took pride in running the ball when everyone knew they were going to run the ball.
Coach John Harbaugh pointed out that center Gino Gradkowski needs to drive defenders off the ball, but he's not the only one to blame. Left guard Kelechi Osemele has regressed in his second season, and right tackle Michael Oher has been a disappointment (it makes you wonder how much that ankle injury is still affecting him). The only Ravens lineman who has received positive grade from Pro Football Focus this year is right guard Marshal Yanda, and he committed two penalties last Sunday.
A reporter asked defensive lineman Chris Canty if the trade for Monroe was a sign of desperation. This is the Ravens' first trade during the regular season in their 18 years of existence.
"It's a sign that this team wants to win and win now," Canty said. "We're not going to accept anything less than a championship performance."