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
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.
Monday, November 10, 2014, 7:52pm
The breakthrough season that Ravens running back Bernard Pierce was hoping for hasn't materialized. Pierce was initially projected as the starter once Ray Rice was indefinitely suspended and his $35 million contract was terminated.
However, a lost fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener, a subsequent quadriceps injury and the emergence of Justin Forsett as the Ravens' featured running back has affected Pierce's status.
During a 21-7 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Pierce was more involved in the offense than usual when he rushed for 31 yards on eight carries. Pierce had just one carry for 2 yards in a 43-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous week and was a healthy scratch against the Bengals the week before that.
Pierce hasn't complained about his status and said he's just trying to make the most out of his opportunities.
"It's definitely a confidence-booster," Pierce said after the win over the Titans. "I knew I still had it. Contributing to a win is definitely a good feeling."
Against Tennessee, Pierce had a long run of 10 yards. The Ravens wore down the Titans, rushing for 151 yards on 34 carries, but it was Forsett who led the way with 112 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Pierce had more of a role Sunday than rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, who had three carries for 10 yards one week after he lost a fumble against the Steelers. Forsett is the team's lead back and the RB2 spot is going to the guy who hasn't fumbled most recently.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 12:46pm
There’s been chatter around Baltimore as to who the Ravens’ top running back is in their strong rushing game. On Sunday in Tampa Bay, Forsett took another step in proving he’s the guy.
Forsett and the now healthy Pierce split the carries – Forsett got 14 and Pierce had 15. But Forsett took his for 111 yards (7.9 yard average), and Pierce totaled 32 yards (2.1 average) and a touchdown on his attempts.
Forsett got his fourth straight start, and kick-started the Ravens offense with a 52-yard jaunt on their second play of the game.
Forsett, who still leads the NFL in average yards per carry (6.4), hadn’t logged a 100-yard game since 2009, his second year in the league when he was with the Seattle Seahawks. Forsett is fifth in the NFL with 408 rushing yards, trailing only Dallas' DeMarco Murray, Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, Houston's Arian Foster and Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy. It didn't appear Forsett would step up to the lead role and keep it with the younger Pierce and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro as part of the running attack. For now, Forsett is taking advantage of his opportunities despite splitting carries with Pierce.
Justin Forsett remains the safest choice to play in the Ravens' running-back-by-committee approach. Forsett is averaging 83 total yards per game, and coach John Harbaugh said there are no plans to reduce Forsett's snaps. The Ravens like Forsett's ability to break tackles so much that he has become the primary red zone back.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked Monday whether he was comfortable sticking with the hot hand at running back or if he preferred one back to step up to become the featured runner.
"I don't really care. It doesn't matter," Harbaugh said. "I just want yards. I want us to be averaging 4.5 to 5 yards per carry, and 5 yards a carry is what will lead the league. To do that, we have to rip off some long runs. And let's be good with three different guys. That's what we need to do."
The Ravens' running back by committee is working. The Ravens rank No. 9 in the NFL with an average of 4.7 yards per carry, and they're doing it by being the only team with three backs who have over 30 carries.
Justin Forsett, who has started the past three games, is the leading rusher with 297 yards. But Harbaugh made a point to say that he wants more carries for Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro. You get the sense that Harbaugh liked what he saw out of Pierce, whose four runs went for 13, 12, 3 and 3 yards, according to the story. Against the Panthers, Taliaferro was the closer and came on in the second half against a tired Panther defense, but didn't see much time when the Ravens trailed against the Colts Week 5. It very well could depend on how the game is going in terms of how each back is used. At least for now, Forsett is probably the safest among the three.
- Page 1