The Baltimore Ravens have a new leader in the competition for the No. 2 running back position. Rookie Bernard Pierce impressed in Friday’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
Pierce is a 2012 third-round draft pick out of Temple University. He had been out due to a hamstring injury and made his debut in Friday’s game. He had four carries for one yard, numbers that don’t sound impressive; but they don’t give the full story.
Here’s a breakdown of Pierce’s plays:
- 10-yard catch, called back due to ineligible player downfield
- Run for a gain of six yards, pushing style kept him going after contact
- Loss of 14 yards, had nowhere to go in the backfield, tried to do too much and went backwards
- 7-yard gain
- Last play was a carry for two yards
Pierce gave himself a C- for his performance; but he showed flashes of potential. Pierce said of himself:
“[The Lions] probably weren’t expecting me to bounce off a lot of plays, but I am a little shifty too,” Pierce said. “Just because I’m 225 [pounds] doesn’t mean I can’t move.”
Head coach John Harbaugh was impressed by what he saw:
“Kind of what we expected to see,” he said. “He looks like a talented guy. He ran hard; he had some quickness in there. We saw enough for tonight coming off that hamstring I think he has been working with. And, hopefully, we can keep him getting healthier and see more the next couple weeks.”
Jason Butt of CBSsports.com said of Pierce:
Pierce showed he’s a downhill runner that’s hard to bring down on first contact. He went on to say Baltimore has a lot to be happy about with the way Pierce looked Friday.
Pierce is competing with Bobby Rainey, Anthony Allen and Damien Berry for the backup position.
Rainey was the leader in the first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, but he did not impress in Friday’s game. He had three rushes for three yards and caught four passes for 20 yards.
After Pierce, Berry stood out the most; he was targeted with six passes and caught all of them for 59 yards.
I’m happy to hear there is enough talent available for the Ravens to select a player they already have instead of going elsewhere to sign a veteran. I am curious to see how this pans out and who will back up star running back Ray Rice.