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Ravens FB Leach a specialist in physicality

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Posted Aug. 06, 2011 @ 9:19 a.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

In recent seasons, the Ravens were known for their ample backfield options. In addition to Ray Rice, they had Willis McGahee and FB Le'Ron McClain as capable ballcarriers in reserve. Now, McGahee and McClain have moved on, with McGahee heading to Denver and McClain signing with Kansas City. McGahee's replacement might not yet be on the roster — we're told Baltimore likely will look at adding a veteran back at some point — but ex-Texans FB Vonta Leach was given a three-year contract to replace McClain as the Ravens' lead blocker for Rice — a vital component of their running and passing games and even more so presently.

Leach is not the running threat McClain was (though McClain, it should be noted, was hardly known for his rushing before the 2008 season, when he was pressed into service as a ballcarrier), and he doesn't have exceptional pass-catching skills. However, he's an excellent in-line blocker adept at seeking out and smashing opposing defenders and is known for working well with the tailback behind him. One evaluator familiar with Leach told PFW that the All-Pro compares favorably to Lorenzo Neal. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has noted that Leach has a playing "personality" similar to Neal's.

Ravens RBs coach Wilbert Montgomery, speaking of Leach's physicality, told reporters: "My big thing is that just this past season, he happened to have more pancake blocks — and what I mean by pancake blocks (is) he'll put more linebackers on their back — than anybody I've seen in the last four years."

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