Bermuda hold Guatemala to goalless draw

first_imgHAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – Bermuda made wholesale changes to the side that suffered a 5-1 mauling at the hands of regional powerhouses Mexico here last week, but bounced back to hold Guatemala to a goalless draw in a friendly international at the National Stadium on Tuesday night. Deprived of the services of leading professionals Nahki Wells, Reggie Lambe and Zeiko Lewis, who had all returned to their respective overseas clubs ahead of the match, national coach Kyle Lightbourne gave a number of his fringe players, including Paul Douglas, Cecoy Robinson, Liam Evans and Chikosi Basden, the chance to stake their claim.Without their big-hitters against a team ranked 34 places above them by FIFA, Bermuda lacked a cutting edge to break the deadlock in a game watched by 1,105 fans, and there was little for them to shout about.Overall, Lightbourne made eight changes to the team that lost to Mexico and regular captain Danté Leverock remained on the substitutes’ bench as defender Tre Ming wore the captain’s armband in his return to the team.  Lightbourne said he was pleased with the exercise in preparation for next month’s CONCACAF Nations League second-leg match away to Mexico.“Keeping a clean sheet was a positive because we’ve shipped goals in our last two home matches and it was nice to take a look at Paul Douglas and Liam Evans,” Lightbourne said.“Overall, I’m happy that we didn’t get beaten and it was a great exercise for us to play without the pressure of needing a result.” Although Guatemala are ranked 133rd compared to Bermuda’s 167th in the world, they are in League C  while Bermuda are in League A of the Nations League.  Bermuda lost their opener against Panama 4-1 here before springing a shock by winning the away game 2-0.Guatemala went into Tuesday night’s game having defeated Anguilla 5-0 in a League C match at the weekend. Bermuda were lacklustre in the opening 45 minutes, and it was the Central American outfit  who created the only clear-cut chances. But a combination of profligacy and fine goalkeeping from Dale Eve kept the score goalless during the first half as chances came and went for Guatemala with Allen Yanes, Jorge Arapicio and Jorge Vargas all wasting good chances to break the deadlockBermuda looked sharper in the second half, Willie Clemons, operating from the left-hand side, going closest for the hosts with a low free-kick from the edge of the box but it was easily saved by Nicolas Haggen in the 59th minute.last_img read more

Sir Andy raises doubt over Bascombe, Shallow defends appointment

first_imgBRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Fast bowling legend Sir Andy Roberts has questioned the appointment of Miles Bascombe to the West Indies men’s selection panel, and believes the former Windward Islands batsman should have withdrawn himself from consideration after having been a member of the recent Cricket West Indies Task Force which led an overhaul of regional selection policy. Further, the outspoken former Windies coach contended Bascombe did not possess enough first class experience to sufficiently qualify him for the role he now occupied beside former Test off-spinner Roger Harper and newly-appointed head coach, Phil Simmons.Test legend Sir Andy Roberts.“I have a problem first that he was a member of the task force that sat down to look into who they could pick as selectors and develop a policy, so he’s been part and parcel of it,” Sir Andy told the Mason and Guest cricket radio show here.“He [also] does not have enough first class cricket experience in the region. He may have played, yes, but as far as experience goes to be one of the two selectors? No, I have a problem with that. He added: “My biggest problem is that he, as a member of the Task Force – even though he wasn’t involved in putting his name [forward] – should have withdrawn being a member of the Task Force,” Sir Andy stressed.Bascombe’s appointment came as a surprise, especially considering his tepid playing career which yielded 24 first class matches at an average of 21, and a single Twenty20 International for West Indies against England eight years ago.He was also earlier this year named to the Selection System Task Force, chaired by CWI vice-president and fellow Vincentian, Dr Kishore Shallow, as one of three independent members alongside former Test players Ramnaresh Sarwan and Philo Wallace. Bascombe also serves as vice-president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association headed by Shallow.Sir Andy, however, supported Harper’s appointment as chief selector, pointing out that the former West Indies head coach ticked all the boxes.“I’m pleased. You’re looking for somebody with vast cricket knowledge, somebody who knows the game, has played the game at the highest level, who has been captain [and] coach so I don’t have a problem with that,” the Antiguan outlined. Shallow, who chaired the interview panel during the recruitment process for selectors, defended Bascombe’s appointment, however, arguing that the process had been a “robust” one that had seen the former player pass every test put before him.“The recruitment process was as robust as you could actually imagine,” Shallow said.“One of the first things we did was identify a group of players based on interviews and feedback from persons across the region. Miles’s name surfaced through that process. Some 20 persons were put forward and approved by the board, we then wrote to them [to ascertain] their interest and availability.” Shallow said that of the 17 candidates who responded positively, Harper, Bascombe, Lockhart Sebastien and Hendy Wallace came through as the final shortlist based on their performance in a test exercise.According to Shallow, Harper and Bascombe then scored highly in the interviews which followed.“I can tell you that both Roger Harper and Miles Bascombe were outstanding, with no disrespect to the other two gentlemen,” Shallow revealed.“They stood out in terms of understanding the modern day of selecting where we are now in a data driven environment. It’s not about an eye for cricket anymore, we’ve gone past having an eye.”last_img read more

Error-prone Tucville edge Buxton Stars

first_imgFruta Conquerors U20 and Pouderoyen will face-off in the semifinal round of the Turbo Energy Drink knockout football competition  following lacklustre quarterfinal wins on Friday at the Ministry of Education ground, Carifesta Avenue. It was a laboured performance from the Tucville based unit, who edged Buxton Stars 3-2. In a first half which only featured one goal, Nicholas MacArthur handed Fruta Conquerors the lead in the 21st minute, rifling his effort into the lower left corner from inside the penalty box.The second half started brightly for Tucville  as Ryan Hackett doubled their lead in the 46th minute. It was a sublime finish from Hackett who volleyed a left-footed effort from outside the center of the box into the right hand corner.Pouderoyen Scorer Darrell Abrams.However, two mistakes from the back line in the space of eight minutes allowed the East Coast Demerara outfit, Buxton Stars, to level proceedings. The first occurred in the 63rd minute as a simple back pass from defender Jeremy Garrett on the left side of the field, was miss-controlled by goalkeeper Joel Yhap, striking his leg in the process and settling into the left corner. The second error occurred in the 71st minute, as defender Cecil Jackman in his attempt to shield the ball to safety inside the penalty box, lost possession, allowing the forward to simply pass to the onrushing Shemar Scott, who slotted home unchallenged inside the 18 yard box. Nonetheless, Fruta Conquerors extinguished any hope of a Buxton come-from-behind win as substitute Osafo Simpson scored in the 88th minute. Receiving the ball outside the left of the penalty box, the lanky midfielder uncorked a powerful flat, right-foot strike which fizzed into the left hand corner.Meanwhile, Pouderoyen battled past Buxton United U20 by a 6-5 scoreline on sudden death penalty kicks after regulation and extra time ended 1-1. The opening round of the shoot-out failed to decide the outcome as both teams were perfect from the distance to end at 5-5.  However, Pouderoyen goalkeeper Sherwin Bernard recorded a timely save to his left to seal his side’s place in the final four section, after the West Demerara unit had converted from the mark to take a 6-5 lead. Prior to the eventual conclusion, Pouderoyen took the lead in the 98th minute of extra time after both halves of regulation time failed to produce a conversion. The goal emanated from captain Darrell Abrams, who directed his header into the right hand corner, after receiving a left sided cross unchallenged inside the six yard box. Buxton would eventually level proceedings in the 106th minute under fortuitous circumstances. Goalkeeper Bernard was the guilty party as a regulation Troni Semple cross from the left flank, inexplicably bounced over his head and settled into the right hand corner, much to the disbelief of his teammates.  The second round of quarterfinal matches will take place today at the same venue. The first fixture will pit Riddim Squad against Northern Rangers at 19:00hrs while GFC will match skills with Santos at 21:00hrs in the feature contest.Complete ResultsGame-1 Pouderoyen-1 vs Buxton United u20-1Pouderoyen won 6-5 on sudden deathpenalty kicks Pouderoyen Scorer Darrell Abrams-98thBuxton ScorerTroni Semple-106th Game-2Fruta Conquerors-3 vs Buxton Stars-2Fruta Scorers Nicholas MacArthur-21stRyan Hackett-46thOsafo Simpson-88th Buxton ScorersOwn Goal-63rdShemar Scott-71stlast_img read more

Alex Hales: England’s Eoin Morgan says ‘more time’ needed before batsman can return

first_img(BBC) Captain Eoin Morgan says it needs “more time” before Alex Hales returns to the England side, saying he could have “derailed” last year’s World Cup bid. Hales has not played for England since being removed from the World Cup squad in May 2019 for an “off-field incident” – reportedly failing a drugs test.Alex HalesEngland will next week name a training squad of 30 players with a view to playing Test and limited-overs matches.Seamer Chris Woakes said he would be happy to see batsman Hales, 31, return. However, Morgan said: “I’ve spoken to Alex and certainly see an avenue for him to come back – but when there’s a breakdown of trust, the only healer is time.“It’s only been 12 or 13 months since the incident, which could have cost us four years of hard work.“Given it could have derailed a World Cup campaign, it might take some more time.”  Cricket is set to return from the coronavirus shutdown in July and, with a revamped schedule likely to be congested, it could necessitate separate Test and limited-overs squads. Nottinghamshire’s Hales averages almost 38 in 70 one-day internationals and was the second highest run-scorer in last winter’s edition of the Big Bash League, Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition.The men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Australia in October and November this year, although the International Cricket Council are set to discuss whether it can still be staged at a meeting on Thursday.“It’s obviously not about performance with Alex,” added Morgan. “Playing cricket for England is about on and off the field, values we adhere to and Alex showed complete disregard for them.“He needs to build that up for as long as he can and then hopefully an opportunity will present itself down the line.”last_img read more

The rise of DFS in Europe continues with Premier Punt

first_img Share Submit Related Articles BtoBet integrates Incentive Games content July 29, 2020 StumbleUpon Share FES and Incentive Games launch esports prediction game June 2, 2020 All-in Global: ‘Fantastyc’ markets around the world July 16, 2020 Daily fantasy sports operator Premier Punt was first established in late 2013 and went live in March 2015. Having secured the investment of several local and overseas shareholders, and having acquired a UK licence from the Gambling Commission it’s now looking to press on with a second investment round.John Gordon, Premier Punt The previous investment round took place in April 2015 and the funds acquired were used to develop the product, gain the gambling licence and create the app. This app will be released in the near future, and Premier Punt has already signed official partnerships with both Premier League and Championship clubs which’ll be announced ahead of the new season.The Premier Punt product is based on simplicity and fun for the end user with the option to win real money, and boasts a range of options from monthly, weekly to daily games and numerous versatile features such as the option to play a five player selection on a single match. Further innovative features have been promised and one fan engagement related aspect which will be released prior to the new campaign.Premier Punt is now looking to raise £800,000 in order to further develop the product, acquire more licences, offer larger guaranteed pots, expand the team and launch a marketing campaign. With little to no marketing thus far Premier Punt has regardless acquired over 6,000 Twitter followers and over 8,000 registered players.Premier Punt Co-Founder and Global Director John Gordon had this to say: “We have taken this idea from a scribble on the back on an envelope to a fully functional business in under 18 months, and we’re driven to continue this momentum and grow the business further.”He continued: “Our focus this season has been product, product and product, to ensure that when we have our big launch over the Euros and the new season, we will be delivering the product that the fans deserve. We’ll be taking fan engagement to the next level next season. Watch this space.”Premier Punt is based in Scotland and was founded by John Gordon, Jonathan Warman, Stewart Gove and Andy Daykin. It prides itself on being ‘Made for the Fans, By the Fans.’ Anybody interested in contacting the company in relation to investment opportunities can do so via jg@premierpunt.com.The rise of daily fantasy sports in Europe will form a key part of next week’s Betting on Football Conference (#bofcon) with a star studded panel discussing the issue on Thursday 21st April. Get yourself registered and see you at Stamford Bridge.last_img read more

Paddy Power sweats over Hillary payout as Trump recovers!

first_imgShare Submit StumbleUpon Paddy Power the only bookmaker to have paid out early on Hillary Clinton winning the 2016 US Election, has admitted to having severe doubts regarding its generous decision.On 19 October the bookmaker closed its US 2016 market, paying out approximately £800,000 on a Clinton victory.However, following Clinton’s ‘email scandal’ reappearing on the US Election agenda, Donald Trump has seen his odds collapse from 5/1 (representing a 16.7% of winning) to 5/2  giving the brash New Yorker a 28% chance of becoming the first ‘President Donny’.Féilim Mac An Iomaire, spokesperson for Paddy Power, commented on the market“We’re not reaching for the rosary beads just yet but if money talks, and it usually does, it’s telling us that Trump still has a puncher’s chance and he’ll be leaving us with some very expensive egg on our face if he does manage to pull it off.”Updating the media, Paddy Power detailed a list of events less likely than trump winning the US Presidency;Paddy Power – Things Less Likely Than Trump 2016 Victory3/1         Cleveland Cavaliers to win the NBA Championship 2016-201715/2       Seattle Seahawks to win Superbowl LI9/2         Germany to win World Cup 20183/1         Liverpool FC to win the English Premier League3/1         Taylor Swift to win best album at the 2017 Grammy Awards5/1         Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to be the next Pope11/4       Cersei Lannister to sit atop the Iron Throne at the end of Game of Thrones Season 77/2         London to have a white Christmas3/1         Aidan Turner to be the next James Bond Related Articles Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 Share Paddy Power raises awareness of Missing People with Motherwell ‘silhouette’ stand August 7, 2020 Bakhshi and Shaddick launch ‘Art of the Possible’ podcast tracking US 2020 developments August 10, 2020last_img read more

Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Week 13

first_imgHere are the weekend picks as Drew Forrester and Luke Jones pick every NFL game as well as local college football contests each week.Forrester is 113-62 after finishing 11-5 last week while Jones is 117-58 after an 11-5 record in Week 12. Official standings are only kept based on the NFL picks.Ravens at Browns: Cleveland 22-21 (Drew), Baltimore 24-13 (Luke)Titans at Bills: Tennessee 24-21 OT (Drew), Buffalo 24-20 (Luke)Chiefs at Bears: Chicago 24-10 (Drew), Chicago 27-17 (Luke)Raiders at Dolphins: Oakland 17-13 (Drew), Miami 24-21 (Luke)Bengals at Steelers: Cincinnati 20-16 (Drew), Pittsburgh 23-17 (Luke)Jets at Redskins: New York 20-10 (Drew), New York 21-14 (Luke)Falcons at Texans: Atlanta 23-20 (Drew), Atlanta 27-21 (Luke)Panthers at Buccaneers: Carolina 26-23 (Drew), Carolina 30-24 (Luke)Broncos at Vikings: Denver 13-10 (Drew), Denver 20-14 (Luke)Colts at Patriots: New England 38-0 (Drew), New England 42-10 (Luke)Rams at 49ers: San Francisco 31-6 (Drew), San Francisco 27-10 (Luke)Cowboys at Cardinals: Dallas 24-17 (Drew), Dallas 27-17 (Luke)Packers at Giants: Green Bay 37-24 (Drew), Green Bay 34-24 (Luke)Lions at Saints: New Orleans 33-23 (Drew), New Orleans 31-21 (Luke)Chargers at Jaguars: Jacksonville 21-20 (Drew), San Diego 20-17 (Luke)Lehigh at Towson in FCS playoffs: Tigers 30-27 (Drew), Tigers 27-20 (Luke)last_img read more

Ravens, Pro Bowl running back Forsett reach three-year deal

first_imgAfter numerous flings in his seven-year NFL career, Justin Forsett is finally out of the “friend zone.”The Pro Bowl running back agreed to a three-year deal worth a reported $9 million with the Ravens on Thursday, which ensures a continuation of the best story of the 2014 season. After signing a one-year, $730,000 deal with Baltimore last April, Forsett rushed for a career-high 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns to lead the league’s eighth-ranked rushing offense.The 2008 seventh-round pick from Cal had repeatedly expressed a desire to remain with the Ravens after he took over the starting job from the disgraced Ray Rice, who saw his contract terminated the day after the 2014 season opener. Displaying good patience and vision, Forsett led all NFL running backs with a 5.4 yards per carry average and 17 runs of 20 or more yards, which also set the single-season franchise record.“I’m as hungry as ever at this point,” Forsett said. “Throughout my whole career, people have been telling me what I can’t do, even from Pop Warner to high school to college and now in the pros, even in free agency. Throughout my whole career they have been saying, ‘OK, you’re too short, you’re too slow, you’re too small.’ Now, throughout free agency I would hear, ‘He’s a little too old.’ There’s always something.“I’m hungry to go out and show that I’m only going to get better with time.”Those numbers earned the longtime NFL journeyman his first career trip to the Pro Bowl after previous stops in Seattle (twice), Indianapolis, Houston, and Jacksonville.General manager Ozzie Newsome cited a lack of “wear and tear” and a reputation for mentoring a number of young running backs at the “State of the Ravens” press conference last month as reasons why the organization would try to re-sign Forsett. The move comes after a disappointing start to free agency for the Ravens with wide receiver Torrey Smith, tight end Owen Daniels, and linebacker Pernell McPhee signing elsewhere and five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata being traded to Detroit.Forsett acknowledged there were times during the process when he was uncertain whether a return to the Ravens was in the fold, but the veteran back ultimately wound up where he was “most comfortable” and said the decision was a “pretty easy call” in the end.“He fits well into what we do on offense, and he handles all parts of the job effectively, including blocking and receiving,” Newsome said in a statement. “Justin is a tremendous leader by example and willing to step up as both a leader and mentor. He is truly a success story, and we’re happy he’ll continue that with us. He earned his new contract.”His contract is also much more affordable than the five-year, $42 million deal with $21 million guaranteed that Philadelphia awarded former Dallas running back DeMarco Murray on Thursday. Murray led the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards while averaging 4.7 yards per carry last year to Forsett’s 5.4 yards per carry clip for Baltimore.Forsett’s re-signing doesn’t prohibit the Ravens from exploring young running backs in this year’s draft, but they now know they can count on the veteran to lead a group that includes 2014 fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro, veteran Bernard Pierce, and former practice-squad member Fitz Toussaint.Nearly a year to the day that he was released by Jacksonville and pondered whether his career might be over, Forsett has finally found the stability and commitment from the Ravens that he’s long been searching for throughout his career. With a key piece now in place, Newsome can turn to building the rest of a roster that’s sustained a number of key losses this week.“I just think back on where I was this point last year. It’s just a blessing,” Forsett said. “I thank God every day for this opportunity to come out and do what I love to do, then be able to find a home, be able to play somewhere where they want me, appreciate me, and [I am] just excited.”last_img read more

Future now all that matters for 2015 Ravens

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are facing the Cleveland Browns in arguably the most irrelevant nationally-televised game in franchise history.Perhaps ESPN Monday Night Football broadcaster Mike Tirico said it best last week when he asked analyst Jon Gruden if he loved football and followed that by saying, “We’ll test you and see how much all of you love it out there.” Not only are these AFC North foes playing out the string with their playoff hopes having already been dashed weeks ago, but the Ravens will be competing in their first-ever contest without any of Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, or Joe Flacco, who are arguably the five most significant players in their 20 years in Baltimore.But ask head coach John Harbaugh if he cares about the outside perception of his injury-depleted team and of Monday night’s game between two of the worst teams in the AFC.“We want to go win a football game. It’s a fight out there,” Harbaugh said on Saturday. “We’re not sitting there saying, ‘Oh, I wonder what everybody thinks about me.’ I’m not worried about [that]. We’re not in seventh grade here. ‘I wonder what they think of me. What are they texting about us? What does Snapchat say?’“We don’t care what they think. We’re going to go out there and be our best, do our best and try to accomplish everything we can accomplish.”It’s the right attitude for the Ravens to have as there’s no such thing as tanking the remainder of the season with a slew of players — and, frankly, several coaches — fighting for jobs in 2016 and beyond. But when your current starting offense — aside from four-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda — more closely resembles one for a fourth preseason game, there’s no hiding from the truth.Wins and losses do not matter as it relates to the context of the 2015 season. The end result only affects where the Ravens might pick in next April’s draft as the organization is in desperate need of impact talent. In that way, they’re better off losing as many of their final six games as possible.And if we’re being honest, the Ravens aren’t equipped to win with what remains of the original 2015 roster — no matter how hard they try. The loss of Flacco was the final straw in that regard.That’s why it’s important for the organization to get an extended look at younger players the rest of the way. The list is headlined by rookie running back Buck Allen, who will be making his first NFL start after veteran Justin Forsett suffered a season-ending arm injury last week.“We’re excited to put the ball in Buck’s hands and see what he can do and give our other guys an opportunity to play, and that’s the nature of our league,” offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said. “The next guy has to be ready to help us. It can happen during the course of the game — which it did — and it happens week to week. That’s an expectation that we have that they’ll play well for us.”Regardless of how many games they win or lose the rest of the way, the Ravens would love to see Allen look the part of a starting running back for the future after selecting him in the fourth round this past spring. Learning more about other little-used players such as safety Terrence Brooks, defensive end Brent Urban, and the forgotten 2013 second-round linebacker Arthur Brown could go a long way in trying to revamp the roster in the offseason in hopes of once again being a playoff contender next season.Harbaugh won’t say it publicly, but identifying pieces for the future and making decisions about dead weight on the roster must be the top priority. Other than determining whether he can play at a level warranting a return to back up Flacco next season, it’s just not compelling to see how Matt Schaub — or any number of other known commodities — will fare against the Browns in front of a national audience.It’s an unfamiliar place in which the Ravens find themselves, but all eyes need to be on the future for the final six games of a nightmare season. They’ll show up and play to the best of their ability, but these Ravens are firmly in evaluation mode.Any other thinking would be shortsighted.“Everything you do you have to be thinking about the short term and the long term, so we try to do both,” Harbaugh said earlier this week. “Definitely from a coaching perspective, your focus is most certainly on the short term — and your players and your coaches — and getting ready for the next game. But there is an awareness of the long term, for sure.”The long term is the only intrigue remaining in a lost season that — unfortunately — will be on display for the football world to see on Monday night.last_img read more

Making sense of Ravens’ running game in 2015

first_imgPlenty of factors interfered with the Ravens’ ability to run the football in 2015.The departure of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, injuries along the offensive line and to 2014 Pro Bowl running back Justin Forsett, more eight-man boxes due to limited weapons in the passing game, and a questionable commitment from new coordinator Marc Trestman all contributed to the Baltimore rushing game dropping from eighth in 2014 all the way to 26th this past season. The Ravens averaged 4.5 yards per attempt in Kubiak’s lone season in Baltimore and averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in 2015 (24th in the NFL).“To the extent that we didn’t run the ball well, yes, we lost our identity a little bit and we have to be able to do that,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re going to find our way back that way, and we’re going to work on that right now.”Media and fans frequently speak about the commitment — or lack thereof — to the running game, citing overused stats about a team’s record when they rush a certain number of times in a game. For this reason, some have pointed to the Ravens’ 383 rushing attempts — fewest in franchise history and tied for 25th in the NFL — as the biggest culprit in the struggles.That simply isn’t the case.Research has shown over and over that running the ball more often doesn’t cause a team to win more games just like simply trying to bench-press the most weight doesn’t magically make you stronger. Being strong to begin with (having leads) puts you in position to lift that heavier weight (carrying the ball more frequently). Otherwise, a team would mindlessly run the ball for the first 20 or 25 plays of a game to hit those statistical landmarks and have a big lead in the first half, right?There are always exceptions, but teams that run the most generally do so because they have the lead with Carolina being a perfect example with a league-high 526 rushing attempts despite a 4.3 average that ranked only 10th in the NFL. It’s no coincidence that the 15-1 Panthers led for a league-best average of 39:47 per game and trailed an average of just 8:57 — also best in the NFL — according to Football Outsiders. They also averaged fewer runs in the first quarter than in any of the final three quarters, reflecting again that it’s more about running when you have the lead than “establishing the run” early.In contrast, the 5-11 Ravens led an average of just 14:37 per game (27th in the NFL) and trailed for 32:13 per contest (26th in the league), easily their worst marks since Football Outsiders began keeping track in 1997. Of the 66 periods (counting two overtimes) in which they played during the 2015 season, the Ravens led at the conclusion of just 19 of them.Of the five teams that led less frequently than the Ravens in 2015 — Miami, Chicago, Jacksonville, San Francisco, and Cleveland — only the Bears finished outside the bottom 10 in rushing attempts. All five of those teams also averaged better than Baltimore’s 3.9 yards per carry clip.Whether they take it too far or not, teams pass more frequently when they’re behind as even the worst passing teams in the NFL average more yards per throwing attempt than the most efficient rushing teams average yards per carry. It’s common sense that you can catch up more quickly by going through the air, even if that leaves you prone to more turnovers.The 2010 Ravens averaged 3.8 yards per carry — a mark slightly worse than this year’s team — but carried the ball 104 more times in a 12-4 season. Yes, you can argue that Cam Cameron had a stronger affinity for the running game than Trestman, but Baltimore also enjoyed the lead an average of 38:26 per contest, the best in the NFL that season.It’s easy to run the ball when you’re protecting a lead.To be clear, this doesn’t mean that the running game wasn’t problematic or one of many reasons leading to the first losing season of the Harbaugh era. The issues with the running game just didn’t have as much to do with the number of attempts as it did the lack of efficiency and how regularly the Ravens trailed in games.In looking at the breakdown of rushes by quarter, however, there’s little excusing Trestman for the Ravens only having 91 rushing attempts in the first quarter compared to the league average of 106.3. Strangely, the Ravens collected more rushing attempts (105) in the fourth quarter than in any other period — a trend usually indicative of a winning team — but that number was skewed by a combined 25 fourth-quarter carries against Pittsburgh and Cleveland in Weeks 4 and 5, their best rushing performances of the season by a significant margin.At times, there was certainly a questionable commitment to the running game — a knock on Trestman before he was hired by Harbaugh last January — but the Ravens’ frequent deficits magnified the problem.“Part of that is scheme, part of that is how many times we call it and when we call it,” said Harbaugh about the problems with the running game. “There’s play-action that goes with it [and] passes behind runs that keep the linebackers off your run game — all of those things that we need to build into our run game to be as good as we can be.”The healthy returns of Forsett and starting center Jeremy Zuttah, finding stability at left tackle, and the continued development of Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Terrance West should help to improve the running game. Gaining more leads by playing better on both sides of the ball will create more opportunities that weren’t there for a ground game that struggled to find its groove throughout the season.But it will ultimately be about running the ball better — not just more often — in 2016.last_img read more