Dierdorf says returning to the run is paramount for Ravens

It shouldn't really come as a surprise that Dan Dierdorf, a former offensive tackle for the St. Louis Cardinals, thinks the Ravens need to return to running the football.

The CBS Sports NFL analyst makes a convincing case, arguing that the run keeps the Ravens defense refreshed while standing on the sideline and alleviates some of the pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco.

"And this is the time of the year as we move into late November and December and the playoffs where being able to run the football isn't just a luxury," said Dierdorf, who will be calling Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals with Greg Gumbel. "There are just some times when you've got to bang away a first down, and I think the Ravens are going to make a concerted effort to try to get back in that direction."

Running back Ray Rice said Wednesday that the offense must stay committed to the run even if the results are not overwhelming. Dierdorf agreed.

"There's the old saying that in the NFL, you've got to run even when you're not running," he said. "I think you've got to get Ray back into the feel of a game. Ray's got to get 20 touches. He would love to get 20 touches. You've got to get him back into a flow. I know everybody's been slicing and dicing the imbalance that the Ravens have developed this year between the running and passing, and I'm a believer in that. I think they've got to get back to running the football more. And if that's going to take some periods where maybe he's not breaking some big ones, I think you've still got to force the issue."

However, don't interpret Dierdorf's stance as a critique of Flacco. In fact, Dierdorf calls himself a fan of the quarterback.

"I think he is a good, solid quarterback," Dierdorf said. "Yeah, his numbers are down a little bit this year, but I'm a long way from thinking that you need somebody else to run this football team. I think Joe is plenty good enough."