User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Ravens FB Leach on collision course to stardom

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Vonta Leach's job is to get involved in a collision so Ray Rice won't.

Advertisement
The Baltimore Ravens are in the Super Bowl in part because of Leach's ability to pave a path for Rice to follow. If that involves sticking his helmet into the chest of a 300-pound defensive lineman, then so be it.

``It's just my job,'' said Leach, a three-time Pro Bowl fullback. ``Everybody's got to do their part for us to be successful, and that's my role.''

Leach serves as an escort for Rice and backup running back Bernard Pierce. In 2010, he opened up holes for Arian Foster in Houston. Not coincidentally, Rice and Foster both earned invitations to the Pro Bowl by following Leach's lead.

``Vonta is a fullback, the most under-recognized position in the game because of all the physical abuse he does to his body to see another man shine,'' said Rice, who ran for 1,143 yards during the regular season. ``The fullback position is not a pretty job. One thing about it is, Vonta wants that responsibility, to go out there and just knock people out for me and Bernard to be successful. He's done it for many backs over the years. Look at what he's done for Arian Foster. They all can vouch for him. Linebackers around the league know he's coming for you.''

Leach broke into the NFL in 2004 with Green Bay, but he didn't really make a name for himself until he played for Houston. In 2008 he cleared room for Steve Sloan, and two years later he helped make Foster the NFL's leading rusher.

His work often goes unnoticed, but is not unappreciated. Leach was an All-Pro in 2010 and 2011, and he's made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons.

Leach didn't play in the NFL's all-star game this season because he was preparing for something more important: a Super Bowl matchup Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

``Vonta Leach is a good fullback. He is an All-Pro fullback, a Pro Bowl fullback, and really I almost feel like he is the last of the dying breed of what you can call a real fullback,'' 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said. ``He is a tough guy and a guy that every play you have to come with it.''

Sometimes, Leach actually gets to run with the football. He carried nine times during the regular season, gaining 32 yards and scoring a touchdown. He has four rushes for 14 yards and a TD in the postseason. But most of the time, he's the one clearing room for someone else.

A year ago, the Ravens ran for 1,996 yards and 15 touchdowns. Rice gained 1,364 yards and scored 12 TDs. Those numbers were slightly lower this year - Baltimore had 1,901 yards rushing, and Rice score nine TDs on the ground - in part because Joe Flacco has been so effective passing the ball.

``I think last year we probably were a little bit better than this year, but we're a more balanced team,'' Leach said. ``Teams don't know right now if we're going to run or pass the ball.''

Leach was perfectly happy in Houston, but before the 2011 season the Texans decided he was too expensive to keep.

``My five years there was a great experience,'' Leach said. ``I never had a run-in with the coaches or players. It's just that when the time came for me to get some money, for me to get my piece of the pie, they just didn't offer it to me.''

He quickly signed with Baltimore as an unrestricted agent. It was a move that ultimately benefited both teams.

``I'm very happy with the success I've had with the Ravens,'' he said. ``The reason I came is, the Ravens are one of those teams you're always talking about being in the running for the Super Bowl. Now here we are, and we have a chance to win it.''

Only the 49ers stand in the way. Come Sunday, with Rice right behind him, Leach will be looking to knock down anyone wearing a red jersey.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Rogers: MNF - Falcons at Saints
Rodgers-led Packers hold off Lions 34-27
Hopkins' 5 FGs lead 'Skins over Giants
Ajayi scores in OT, Miami tops Cleveland
Bills rebound with 33-18 win over Cards
Siemian leads Broncos past Bengals
Tucker lifts Ravens to 19-17 win at Jags
Oakland D forces 3 turnovers, beat Titans
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
7 Wins in a Row, 14-2 Streak
Perfect 6-0 Record Sunday
10-3 Run, 13-3 G-Plays, 24-11 TY
6-3 L9, 19-7 TY, 5-1 L6 Totals
4-0 L4 G-Plays, 10-1 L2 Sundays
4-1 Sunday, 9-3 This Season
9-1 L10 G-Plays, 17-8 L25 Picks
8-2 Guarantees, 12-6 Overall TY
10-3 L13, 17-6 L23 NFL Picks
6-1 G-Plays, 6-2 Sun., 18-7 L25
9-1 L10 G-Plays, 26-16 L42 Picks
4-1 Record Last Sunday
4-2 L6 G-Plays, 8-4 L12 Picks
11-4 Record L2 Sundays
13-5 L18 NFL Selections
3-0 Over/Unders This Year
6-1 Record L2 Sundays
NCAA FB College Football Expert Picks
2016 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 1230
Don Anthony + 1063
ASA + 926
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
The Gold Sheet + 500
Kevin Rogers + 375
ASA + 356
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Andy Iskoe 75 %
Don Anthony 73 %
ASA 71 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 985
Scott Pritchard + 575
Bruce Marshall + 535
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1189
Pat Hawkins + 500
Don Anthony + 390
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 775
Doc's Sports + 400
Andy Iskoe + 392
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership