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.
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.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton revealed that running back Khiry Robinson is expected to return from an arm injury next week against the Carolina Panthers while denouncing a report that the Saints had shown any interest in reinstated running back Ray Rice.
“We like our running back depth,” Payton said. “And if you do a little research, Khiry’s coming back next week.”
Robinson has missed the past six games with an unspecified arm injury. He hasn’t returned to the practice field yet but hinted on Twitter that he was close to a return. And he was seen in the locker room without a brace on the arm.
Things will again get interesting in the Saints backfield. Mark Ingram has been playing very well since moving into the lead back role. Chances are the Saints will ease Robinson back into the mix, but it's very possible he steals some carries from Ingram. Ingram ran the ball 23 times for 122 yards in Sunday’s 35-32 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers -- his fourth 100-yard game during Robinson’s absence.
Ray Rice has won his appeal, per sources.
So Rice is now immediately reinstated and can sign with any team any time.
Owners in dire need of RB help could pick up Rice as a prospect, but he didn't look very good last season and has been away from football for several months. It's doubtful that he makes much of a fantasy impact even if he's signed by another team.
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.
Vikings beat writer Chip Scoggins: "If (Adrian Peterson) is truly sorry about what he did, I think you're going to see him on the field probably sooner than later."
Scoggins went on to predict that we'd have an answer by Friday and said that he "absolutely" believes that Peterson will return to play for the Vikings this season.
Peterson could still face further punishment from the league, but given the odds that Roger Goodell deems an eight-game suspension as time served, Peterson should be reinstated. Then it's a matter of the Vikings making the decision to welcome him back, which could potentially create another public relations nightmare. The decision from the league could be delayed since Goodell was busy testifying Wednesday at Ray Rice's appeal.
"When you first saw him come out here, it’s like, 'Whoa, he’s good.' He’s better than his reputation," Harbaugh said. "He’s underrated. You could see that right away. [He] had such a great feel for the offense. But I don’t know if I really could have guessed that he’d break tackles like he does. He’s really doing a great job in yards after the hit. That has been a strength, and you wouldn’t assume that just looking at him."
Forsett not only is an unexpected starter for the 3-1 Ravens but also is leading all qualified NFL running backs in yards per carry (5.8). Last season, the Ravens' top two running backs, Ray Rice (3.1) and Bernard Pierce (2.9), ranked in the bottom four in the league in rushing average.
According to multiple league sources, Rice will appeal the indefinite suspension on Monday. The appeal will be handled by the NFLPA and by an outside lawyer retained by Rice.
Because the indefinite suspension was imposed under the personal-conduct policy, Commissioner Roger Goodell will have the ultimate authority over the appeal. Don’t be surprised if Rice and the union ask that Goodell designate a hearing officer who has no current connection to the league office, which Goodell ultimately did in the appeal of the players suspended in connection with the Saints bounty case.
Goodell also will be a witness in the appeal process, since one of the key questions is whether Rice lied to the team or the league about what happened in the elevator, the story added. Rice is expected to contend that he told the team and the league the truth. Ultimately, the person who resolves the appeal will have to hear testimony from Rice, Goodell, and other witnesses before deciding whether Rice lied — especially since Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome has said that Rice didn’t lie. In terms of fantasy football, it's hard to believe any team would give Rice a look, at least this season. Many feel he will never play in the league again.
Montgomery County prosecutor Phil Grant said Saturday that parents are entitled to discipline their children, but that grand jury members felt Peterson went too far after they looked at the child's injuries.
Peterson is charged with causing injury to a child for allegedly spanking one of his sons with a wooden switch on or around May 18. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to two years in prison and fined up to $10,000.
Peterson is out for Week 2 and probably longer as the Star-Tribune says that it’s likely that the league takes further discipline on Monday. The NFL was criticized heavily for the two-game suspension that Ray Rice received for knocking out his fiancé in Atlantic City, so our guess is that Peterson will be hit with a tougher suspension. It’s not clear whether the NFL will wait for the case to run its course, but it doesn’t sound like it will. The Vikings could also suspend him as well. The bottom line is that there is no concrete timetable for Peterson’s return. He could miss four games or even the entire season. His owners can choose to get what they can for him via trade, or cut him to the waiver wire on moral grounds. Just know that it’s possible that he returns to the team if he admits fault, apologizes, seeks therapy and works out a deal to continue playing while his case makes its way through the legal system. Owners who are seeking a trade may have to take what they can get for him, but our reluctant guess is a RB2/WR2 type.
Saturday, September 13, 2014, 1:43pm
With zero carries so far with one pass thrown in his direction for an incompletion against the Cincinnati Bengals, the fourth-round draft pick from Coastal Carolina says he's remaining patient and waiting his turn.
Taliaferro ranks third on the depth chart behind starting running back Bernard Pierce and backup Justin Forsett and has been active for each game, primarily operating on special teams. Pierce rushed for a game-high 96 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Forsett scored a touchdown against the Bengals as he gained 70 yards and had a 41-yard run against the Steelers.
"I don't know what my role is going to be," said Taliaferro who rushed for 243 yards and one touchdown on 65 carries during the preseason. "I just know I'm ready for whatever it is. I can't control any of that. All I can control is what I do when my number is called in that moment."
Taliaferro is a power runner with a fairly upright running style at 6-foot, 226 yards. Taliaferro was the Big South Offensive Player of the Year last season when he rushed for 1,729 yards and 27 touchdowns, the story says. One has to think his time is coming with Ray Rice now out of the picture. Pierce was much improved Thursday night against the Steelers but a lot of questions still remain with this Raven RB group.
If you didn't pick up on it, Harbaugh named every tailback on the roster. As I wrote earlier, Forsett earned the right to start against the Steelers after gaining 70 yards on 11 carries in the season opener.
But, since no one in the backfield is an established starter, Harbaugh will likely go with the hot hand each game. The approach is probably a running-back-by-committee, so Harbaugh would be right in naming everyone a starter.
Pierce fumbled in Week 1 and promptly rode the bench allowing for a nice day for Forsett. But Forsett probably isn't viewed as a longterm answer and it's hard to believe the team wouldn't give Pierce another shot with Rice now out of the picture. This is shaping up to be a committee and even in a nice matchup against the Steelers, who were gashed at times but the Browns last week, you may just want to stay clear of this situation given all that's going on with the team on a short week.
Wetzel was told that one factor was his version of what happened didn't match with video, which was released Sunday night, apparently showing Rice punching his then-fiance in an elevator. So, it appears that the outrage over the video has resulted in the release. The initial fantasy reaction is that this is now Bernard Pierce’s show, but the team didn’t show a whole lot of confidence in Pierce when they benched him after he lost a fumble against the Bengals. Still, that was an in-game situation and now that Rice is out of the picture, we have to expect that Pierce will be given every chance to carry the load. He looked good in camp and multiple sources have said that he’s a great fit for Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme. Justin Forsett should continue to have a big role, especially in the passing game, while rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro (who did not get a single touch in Week 1) will try to work his way into the mix.
A video surfaced overnight of Rice apparently punching his then-fiance in a hotel elevator. Rice was suspended for two games for the incident and was scheduled to come back Week 3. For owners, this is obviously something to monitor. From a fantasy point, the Ravens RB situation is a mess right now after Bernard Pierce was benched for a fumble. Justin Forsett took over as the lead back and it remains to be seen who gets the start in a short week against the Steelers Thursday night in what now looks like a good matchup. Lorenzo Taliaferro could also be in the mix for carries as well.
Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:45pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (concussion, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 1. Pierce is ready to carry the load in a tough matchup against the Bengals with Ray Rice sidelined due to suspension. Lorenzo Taliaferro and Justin Forsett will serve as change-of-pace backs.
Bernard Pierce is completely recovered from a concussion suffered during the preseason and is ready to handle the Ravens' starting running back job for the next two weeks, a team official said. Pierce is perfectly suited for Gary Kubiak's one-cut system because he is big enough to run between the tackles and has the quickness to hit the holes. The one question mark is Pierce's vision, as he doesn't always hit the right lanes. The Ravens will look to establish the run early, even though the Bengals were one of the top run defenses in the league last year. Everything stems from setting up the run in Kubiak's offense, a team official noted. Look for Pierce to get a lot of touches.
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