Now that all is signed, sealed and delivered with Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice, the team needs to figure out who will be his backup. As much as we’d like him to stay on the field for every play, he can’t do the job alone, someone has to work with him.
Last season Ricky Williams filled this role, but he retired this year leaving a vacant roster spot. The Ravens are looking to fill the vacancy when training camp starts on July 26.
While Rice, a two-time Pro Bowler will get the majority of the carries, the Ravens need someone who can pound the ball in short-yardage situations.
Several players are vying to fill the vacant backup running back position. Here’s a look at the competition.
Anthony Allen is starting his second season with the Ravens. In 2011, he was a seventh-round pick from Georgia Tech. He did not see much playing time; he only had three carries for 8 yards and was inactive for the last 13 games. Small as it may be, he is the only one of the bunch with any NFL experience.
Bernard Pierce is a 2012 third-round draft pick from Temple where he finished second in school history with 3,570 rushing yards. During his freshman season he had 27 touchdowns and 1,481 rushing yards. He is light on his feet and could provide the burst of speed needed in short-yardage situations.
Allen is the likely leader of this competition, but it is anyone’s guess how this will play out during training camp.
This week there was also chatter from former Cincinnati Bengals running back, Cedric Benson, who wants to get back into the game. Benson, who had three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, has the potential to be a valuable backup running back.
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal believes that Benson would fit best with the Ravens.
According to Rosenthal:
Benson could fill the old Ricky Williams role if the Ravens realize youngsters Bernard Pierce and Anthony Allen aren’t up for the task of backing up Ray Rice.
While Benson could be an asset to any team, I don’t see him fitting in with the Ravens especially since he played for a division rival.
I have faith in the team’s ability to select the best player for the job. If no one is capable of doing so, they will look elsewhere for a veteran backup.