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).
Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 12:55pm
Taliaferro, who has been active and playing on special teams each week, has no carries in the past two games. Overall, he has rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns this season, including 91 yards and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns and two touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this season.
Is Taliaferro in coach John Harbaugh's doghouse? Harbaugh insisted Monday that the reason Taliaferro is playing sparingly on offense isn't punitive measure.
Instead, Harbaugh emphasized that the emergence of running back Justin Forsett is the primary factor that's preventing Taliaferro from being more involved on the offense.
“If you look at it, no one has many carries besides Justin,” Harbaugh said. “You’ll see Lorenzo, without question. There’s no punishment going on there. I just think it’s been Justin has been playing so well, but Lorenzo has to be there for us, especially down the stretch here.”
Backup running back Bernard Pierce had six carries for 16 yards during a loss Sunday to the San Diego Chargers. Forsett has been a nice surprise for the Ravens run game after losing Ray Rice and Pierce struggling to fill in. Forsett stepped up and hasn't looked back and is the clear fantasy option in this backfield.
“That’s a good question,” Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak acknowledged. “We know who our ‘one’ is. Our ‘one’ is playing really well. No. 29 [Justin Forsett] has played extremely well. We’ve been bouncing back and forth between Lorenzo and Bernard.
“We’re continuing to look at that. I’m trying to see what Bernard does best and what Lorenzo does best.”
Kubiak’s response indicated that the No. 2 back could vary from game-to-game, and the Ravens may ride the hot hand between the two young backs.
Pierce most recently served as Forsett's primary backup, but it hardly sounds as if the job is his. The larger point is that this likely turns into a committee if something happens to Forsett down the stretch.
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