T.J. Yeldon, Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart are the top three backs, but Bernard Pierce is making a pretty strong push to not only earn playing time but be a main piece of the running back rotation.
"His toughness and his work ethic and mentality I think has been great," HC Gus Bradley said. "It's been great for that running back room. He's been a great teammate on offense and in that room, and his leadership [has been good].
"I didn't know much about him [when the Jaguars claimed him in March]. I heard good things but it's been even better."
Pierce has had a good camp and then followed it with a strong performance in the Jaguars' 23-21 victory over Pittsburgh last Friday. He ran five times for 15 yards and caught three passes for 22 yards. He had one drop but he also had one of the highlights of the night when he hurdled potential tackler B.W. Webb. The story added Pierce can be used as an every down back or a third down back, giving the Jags some flexibility. Yeldon is expected to be a big piece to the running game.
A year ago, Justin Forsett was a journeyman looking for a job at the Baltimore Ravens training camp. Now, one Pro Bowl appearance and a 1,529 yards later, Forsett is seeking an encore to the finest of his seven NFL seasons. "I'm still hungry, still ready to go out and fight," the 29-year-old running back said. "Nothing is given to me."
Forsett was third on the depth chart last summer behind Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro. All three running backs were prepared to take one step back after incumbent Ray Rice returned from a two-game suspension for domestic violence. All that changed when a video surfaced in September showing Rice striking his then-fiancee in an elevator. The Ravens immediately released him, and Forsett ultimately proved to be far more adept at running the ball than anyone on the Baltimore roster.
He rushed for a career-high 1,266 yards — more than his previous five seasons combined. Forsett also caught 44 passes for 263 yards and provided solid protection in the pocket for quarterback Joe Flacco. That earned the 5-foot-8, 195-pound Forsett a three-year, $9 million contract with $3 million guaranteed. He intends to earn every penny of it.
Forsett is a potential fantasy stud RB who can possibly be had later in the second round of 12-team leagues or even the early third round in 10-team leagues. With Marc Trestman as the OC, Forsett has a chance to increase his receptions and be a valuable PPR back. Trestman has already said the Ravens will continue to commit to the run making Forsett's potential even higher.
Sunday, April 5, 2015, 9:11am
DiRocco: Only if he improves his issues with pass protection. It's not a physical problem. He is willing to block and can do it. He just struggles knowing what his responsibilities are in certain protections and audibles. If he's able to figure that out then he will have more opportunities.
Blocking responsibilities are a big reason young RBs can't get on the field. The emergence of Denard Robinson last season could also limit Johnson's snaps. And don't forget about Toby Gerhart - DiRocco added that he thinks the starting spot will come down to Robinson or Gerhart in 2015. The team also signed Bernard Pierce this offseason.
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 10:09pm
After a pretty strong rookie season (4.9 YPC on 108 carries), Pierce has rushed for just 802 yards on 245 carries for a 3.27 YPC. He was a cut candidate even before the DUI, but his run-in with the law made him even more expendable. The Ravens currently have Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro atop the depth chart at running back.
This is a situation to monitor as the offseason wears on.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 10:29am
Only one of the Ravens' top three running backs from last year is guaranteed to return, and that's rookie fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro. The Ravens would like to re-sign leading rusher Justin Forsett, but he could receive a better offer elsewhere after becoming the NFL's fifth-leading rusher in 2014. The status for Bernard Pierce is just as uncertain after he recorded his second straight disappointing season. The Ravens will want to upgrade their depth if they're able to do so, and Pierce may not make the regular-season roster. This is a situation where the Ravens are going to be careful with how much they invest in this position because they're carrying $9.5 million in dead cap space after releasing Ray Rice last year. Their game plan could be to sign a moderately priced veteran in free agency and add another runner in the draft.
In the past two games, Forsett has totaled 68 yards rushing and has been held under three yards per carry, an indication that the heaviest workload of his seven-year career is taking a toll. There have been signs of the NFL's fifth-leading rusher wearing down, from a knee injury a couple of weeks ago to an ankle injury on Sunday which forced him to miss the final nine minutes of the game.
"I'm fine. I'm ready to go," Forsett said after being held to a season-low 19 yards. "The defense did a great job, stopping us and stopping the run. Sometimes it's like that. We have to find a way to execute and win games. We just didn't do that today."
Forsett has taken on a huge workload compared to the rest of his career. As the story points out, he has now carried the ball 218 times, which ranks 10th-most in the NFL this season. That's also 100 more carries than he's received in any of his previous six seasons. Teams are beginning to figure out that stopping the Ravens' run game throws everything out of whack for the Ravens' offense. The Ravens are 8-1 when they rush for over 120 yards, and they're 1-4 when they are held under 100 yards. Bernard Pierce had just one carry in Week 16, but has averaged six over the last five games. In that same span Forsett has averaged 19 carries per game.
Friday, December 19, 2014, 6:02pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (back, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 16. Pierce will continue to serve as the primary backup to Justin Forsett with Lorenzo Taliaferro out for the year.
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 6:14pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (back) took full practice reps Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Pierce will continue to serve as the primary backup to Justin Forsett with Lorenzo Taliaferro out for the year.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 5:57pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (back) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Pierce will continue to serve as the primary backup to Justin Forsett with Lorenzo Taliaferro out for the year.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 3:01pm
The Ravens placed rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on injured reserve due to a sprained foot suffered against the Miami Dolphins, signing former New England Patriots defensive tackle Casey Walker to the active roster.
Taliaferro was in a walking boot last week and wasn't expected to recover anytime soon, prompting the Ravens to promote rookie running back Fitz Toussaint from the practice squad to the active roster on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens backfield plays out heading into next year, more specifically, what the team will do with Justin Forsett, who is having a nice season. Bernard Pierce will be the team's RB2, but hasn't really been able to seize the starting job in his short career.
Saturday, December 13, 2014, 3:55pm
The Baltimore Ravens promoted running back Fitzgerald Toussaint from the practice squad Saturday, an indication that running back Lorenzo Taliaferro might be inactive against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Taliaferro, a rookie fourth-round pick, is considered questionable after not practicing all week because of a foot injury. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak didn't hide his concern earlier this year when the Ravens played a game with only two healthy running backs. Now, with the promotion of Toussaint, the Ravens have three running backs (Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce are the others), but Toussaint likely won't be all that much of a factor for fantasy lineups.
Friday, December 12, 2014, 6:26pm
Ravens RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot, questionable) missed practice all week and is questionable for Week 15. Taliaferro is expected to miss Week 15, so Bernard Pierce should serve as the primary backup behind Justin Forsett. Taliaferro and Pierce have combined to average 11.4 carries per game, so it’s not hard to envision a 10- to 13-touch workload for Pierce in a nice matchup against the Jaguars (#25 in RB aFPA).
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 6:32pm
Ravens RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) missed practice again Thursday. Taliaferro is expected to miss Week 15, so Bernard Pierce should serve as the primary backup behind Justin Forsett. Taliaferro and Pierce have combined to average 11.4 carries per game, so it’s not hard to envision a 10- to 13-touch workload for Pierce in a nice matchup against the Jaguars (#25 in RB aFPA).
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