Ravens running back Bernard Pierce made an early exit from Saturday night’s game against the Redskins after taking a blow to the head from Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be out of the lineup for a long time.
Pierce tweeted on Sunday that he’s “fine” after undergoing evaluation for a concussion after the hit. It’s not clear whether or not Pierce was officially diagnosed with a concussion, which would mean he has to progress through the league’s protocol before returning to action, but he has two weeks before the start of the regular season to get cleared if that was the doctor’s finding.
He's been diagnosed with a mild concussion. If Pierce were to miss time, and with Ray Rice suspended, the Ravens would have to turn to Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro at running back. We'll have to see if Pierce is officially diagnosed with a concussion in terms of him having to follow protocol.
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 10:42am
After Rice was held out of Saturday's 23-17 preseason win over the Washington Redskins, coach John Harbaugh wouldn't say whether the team's starting running back will see the field again in the preseason.
"That was our plan this week," Harbaugh said when asked about Rice not playing after being suited up for the game. "So, next week, we'll let you know. You'll see it when you see it."
The story points out it would be surprising if Rice played in the Thursday preseason finale at the New Orleans Saints. The Ravens gave him plenty of reps with the first-team offense during training camp, and they probably don't want to risk running him behind a second-team offensive line in the final preseason game.
Uh-oh. Depending on the severity of Pierce's concussion, he may not be cleared by Week 1, which means Lorenzo Taliaferro would get the start. Ray Rice's suspension doesn't end until Week 3. Stay tuned.
Monday, August 18, 2014, 3:38pm
Ravens running back Ray Rice, who left Saturday's preseason game after two carries to get his shoulder examined, was practicing Monday as the Ravens got back to work following their 37-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Rice, who was diagnosed with a shoulder bruise, was participating in individual drills.
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 12:14pm
The Ravens got a preview Saturday night of what could happen in the first two weeks of the regular season. With starting running back Ray Rice suspended for the first two weeks, Bernard Pierce will be the lead dog. In the second preseason game in Dallas, Pierce showed that he can handle the load.
Pierce ran seven times for 55 yards, including a long 30-yard rumble. He looked decisive and powerful in the Ravens’ new zone run scheme and consistently picked up good yardage before breaking loose.
“[I’m preparing] exactly the same way,” Pierce said.
“The mentality that I was coached in in college and this level is next man up. If something bad were to happen, you have to be ready. If you’re not ready, the next guy’s going to be ready. It has to be done.”
Pierce had a strong rookie season but than struggled last year when everyone expected a big step forward. That was at least partly due to injuries. Pierce feels strong this year, and while he'll be the Ravens RB1 for two weeks, it's two pretty touch matchups before Rice gets back in Week 3. We rank Pierce 39th, meaning he could have some deeper league value. It's obviously important to see how the Ravens use him as well.
Ravens RB Ray Rice didn't start but finally got in early in the second quarter and he immediately reeled off an 18-yard run. However, after just two carries, he went back to the sideline to have X-rays taken on his shoulder.
The X-rays were negative but Rice wasn’t expected to return to the game.
Bernard Pierce got the start, one would assume because he'll start Weeks 1 and 2 while Rice is suspended. We'll have to wait to see more about Rice's shoulder but it's at least a good sign the X-rays were negative. There was no need to put Rice back in the game at that point.
Friday, August 15, 2014, 12:07pm
There's no skill-position battle for the Ravens right now, but there could be one by the middle of September. That's when running back Ray Rice comes off his two-game suspension. The one-cut style of backup Bernard Pierce seems to be a more natural fit to Gary Kubiak stretch running scheme. If Pierce has a fast start, the Ravens may have a decision to make by Week 3.
The coaches make it sound like Rice will return to a starter's role after his suspension, and we're not so sure that Pierce will be able to change their minds in two games against the Bengals and Steelers.
“That’s coach’s call,” offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said. “John has talked about that, but we’re still early in camp. I’m sure it’s something John will address as we get to next week. Obviously, there comes a point where somebody else is probably going to have to work as a starter as we move forward.
“But you still have to get Ray ready to play because come Week Three, he’s going to bounce right back in there. It’s a tough dynamic, and coach will work us through it. He’ll tell us what he wants us to do.”
This makes it sound as if Rice is slated to be the starter upon his return from suspension, which is a concern in the fantasy community. At just 26 years old, it was surprising to see Rice's production fall off the way it did, but he was dealing with hip and quad injuries throughout the season. He was also coming off of a Super Bowl run the previous year, which likely wore him down. GM Ozzie Newsome said he expects Rice to return to Pro Bowl form, but HC John Harbaugh said after the season that the team could take more of a committee approach at running back, which would limit Rice's upside. Still, assuming his offseason legal issues don't impact his availability, he is a bounceback candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense.
As the new offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, Gary Kubiak is envisioning shorter passes, quicker releases from his quarterbacks and a play that has been used infrequently in team history.
"I was telling John [Harbaugh] the other night: ‘You know, I think we’ve got a chance to be a pretty good screen team,'" Kubiak said. "Our guards not only are big and physical, but they can get out and run."
This could benefit Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, especially in PPR formats.
We normally take positive training reports with a grain of salt, but this is the third or fourth beat reporter who has lauded Rice's weight loss and quickness. He'll serve a two-game suspension and have to deal with Bernard Pierce when he gets back, but he should settle into the RB1 job and be a good third running back for fantasy owners.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 9:26am
As expected, Ray Rice did not appeal his two-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy, meaning that the running back will be sidelined for the Ravens' Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and their Sept. 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Rice also was fined three total game checks, which equates to $529,000, by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The Ravens’ running back, who was accused of striking his now-wife, Janay, unconscious during an altercation in the elevator of an Atlantic City, N.J. casino in February, learned of the suspension Thursday, before the team’s first full-squad workout of training camp.
He had a three-day window to appeal the two-game ban, but that has now elapsed without action from Rice.
Rice can still participate in training camp and in the four preseason games. Bernard Pierce is expected to start the first two games, however, they are shaping up to be pretty tough matchups.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hand down a two-game suspension to Ray Rice for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, sources confirmed Thursday. The league has not officially announced the suspension.
The general consensus was that Rice would get a four-game ban, so this is good news for his fantasy value and bad news for Bernard Pierce who will have a tough time establishing himself as the RB1 in two division games against the Bengals and the Steelers.
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce told The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday that he will be able to practice with no restrictions at training camp after undergoing shoulder surgery in January.
After a promising rookie season, Pierce turned in a disastrous 2013 campaign, hampered by shoulder, hamstring, toe and knee injuries behind a blocking scheme that failed to consistently open holes.
Now healthy, Pierce is optimistic about a bounce-back season in new coordinator Gary Kubiak's successful zone-blocking scheme.
Pierce figures to start if/when Ray Rice is suspended to start the season, and though unlikely, he could run away with the job. He was just as bad (2.9 YPC) as Rice was (3.1 YPC) last season, so both players are expected to bounce back in Gary Kubiak's offense.
Monday, July 21, 2014, 11:28am
Ravens beat writer Jeff Zrebiec:
The guy to watch is running back Bernard Pierce, who had offseason shoulder surgery. Pierce was limited during the various offseason minicamps, though he looked in good shape and raring to go. If he has been cleared for contact, it will be a nice development for the Ravens, especially with Ray Rice’s suspension announcement looming.
I was going to write “with Rice’s suspension imminent,” but that’s what I’ve been thinking for about three weeks now. It has been exactly five weeks since Rice and his wife met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in New York. Goodell has plenty of other disciplinary issues on his plate, so I have no idea what the holdup is in making the decision on Rice. I would have guaranteed you earlier this month that the Ravens would know how long Rice would be sidelined before the start of training camp. Now, I’m not so sure.
At just 26 years old, it was surprising to see Rice's production fall off the way it did, but he was dealing with hip and quad injuries throughout the season. He was also coming off of a Super Bowl run the previous year, which likely wore him down. GM Ozzie Newsome said he expects Rice to return to Pro Bowl form, but HC John Harbaugh said after the season that the team could take more of a committee approach at running back, which would limit Rice's upside. Still, assuming his offseason legal issues don't impact his availability (too much), he is a bounceback candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 9:58am
There doesn’t figure to be a whole lot of drama for the Ravens running backs.
Ray Rice’s expected suspension probably will lead to the Ravens keeping an extra running back early in the season. That would benefit Justin Forsett, who has looked elusive and quick in offseason practices and could have a role in the offense early.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, a rookie fourth-round pick, also could work his way into the rotation. At 230 pounds, Taliaferro is a good candidate for short-yardage duties, a major issue with the Ravens last year. Kyle Juszczyk wasn’t used on offense last season, but that figures to change with new coordinator Gary Kubiak calling the plays.
It looks like Bernard Pierce should be given every chance to fill in while Rice serves his suspension, which has yet to be determined. It sounds like Taliaferro could steal some short TDs, however. Once the suspension is announced, it will give the Ravens a better plan for reps at camp, and should also give a better clue for fantasy owners.
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