Bernard Pierce may take some carries from Ray Rice

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Bernard Pierce had a very good season as a third-round rookie running back for the Ravens last year, gaining 532 yards and averaging 4.9 yards a carry. But there’s no question that Ray Rice remains the Ravens’ top back.

Still, while Rice remains one of the best running backs in the NFL, the Ravens like Pierce enough that they may cut down on Rice’s carries to give more to Pierce. Last year Rice had 257 carries to Pierce’s 108, but the Ravens’ website reports that if Pierce keeps looking good, the distribution of carries will be closer to equal in 2013.

Pierce isn’t as good in the passing game as Rice (Pierce caught just seven passes to Rice’s 61, and Rice is better at picking up blitzes), so there’s no chance that Pierce will get as many snaps as Rice, assuming Rice stays healthy.

But Pierce played some of his best football down the stretch, with a 123-yard game in a Week 16 win over the Giants and a 103-yard game in a playoff win over the Colts, and if he keeps playing like that, it’s going to be impossible for the Ravens to keep him off the field. Baltimore may turn out to have both one of the NFL’s best starting running backs, and one of the NFL’s best No. 2 running backs.

43 responses to “Bernard Pierce may take some carries from Ray Rice

  1. Pierce was good last year, but Rice is pivotal to their offense. You can probably count on Pierce for 5 yard gains on a consistent basis, but Rice is the guy who can take a 4th down screen pass and turn it into 29 yards…that was AWESOME

  2. Here’s the plan: Pierce gets an increased work load in 2013. Assuming he can handle it and looks as good as he did to end 2012, I absolutely expect to see Rice and his contract hit the trade block for 2014. That’s a top notch RB slightly above his prime with 2 years left on his deal. There’s no reason the Ravens don’t walk away from that with a 2014 1st (early pick) and then some, while still maintaining a stud RB in Pierce who is substantially cheaper, younger, and locked up longer. Again this is all based on how Pierce does with an increased work load but I’ve been saying it since the day he was drafted. I’m looking at DET, ARI, MIA (since they are infatuated with the Ravens sloppy seconds) and JAC as suitors. All likely to have top 10 picks in 2014 draft.

  3. This situation in Baltimore is a great problem to have. But I can agree Ray Rice will be supplanted more often as BP is somehow more explosive. Ray Rice is clutch,reliable and always healthy. This could turn out to be the Jamal Lewis,Chester Taylor backup more effective episode…

  4. Couldn’t agree more with the article. Pierce is going to be a solid player in the league. He brings a more physical aspect to the run game; not that Rice is a slouch. Playing Pierce more will keep Rice fresh on a weekly basis and ultimately prolong his career.

  5. I like it, obviously Ray still needs to be One of the main focal points, he still is one of the most dangerous and complete offensive players in the game but I like the dual threat back, Pierce is a solid back, averaged 5 yards a carry last year, him taking some load of Ray is good lessens the wear and tare on Ray and makes our Run Game even more of a Threat.

  6. And the 2 guys get along really well, too.

    The more carries Pierce gets, that just helps extend Ray Rice’s career & he’s smart enough to understand that. And, both guys (barring injury of course) will have fresh legs when the playoffs roll around.

    Pierce is a beast & could one day force Rice into a pay cut or get cut scenario….

  7. Trust me, everyone in Bmore knows what Pierce can do. Dude is a beast, they have two different styles that compliment each other. Ray is more shifty while Pierce is more straight ahead , but also has some wiggle. Rice will stay healthier with Pierce taking away carries , but Rice will also have even more catches this year so his touches will still be around the same. Our running game is going to be ranked pretty high this year , because in addition to Pierce gaining more experience, as competitors they will want to out do the other. Pierce has made several comments since he was a rookie that he is not the type to settle for a typical back up role. He has a killer , but quiet confidence and swagger about him. Trust me get him on your fantasy squad as a backup.

  8. Pierce is the better back. Anyone who watched last year would know that.

    But Rice is the starter simply because of name recognition and the fact he’s getting paid more.

  9. NO problem with that at all. I wasn’t a fan when they started using him at first, but Ray Rice has trouble making his own holes. Ray dances behind the line too long.

    Pierce fulfills the same role McGahee and WIlliams filled on the ravens. Run straight through defenses, pick up first downs.

  10. It is going to be interesting to see how Rice reacts when Pierce is getting touches and every time a play doesn’t work out.

    Even if the offense also ends up struggling when Rice is on the field too.

    The loss of Leach really could hurt them more than they thought.

    They’ve got some pretty good tests in the first few weeks with Denver and Houston in the first 3 weeks.

    Is it September yet?

  11. Without Leach? Really? He was on the field for less than half of the running plays last year. They did a lot of single back sets down the stretch. Plus if they choose, they drafted a FB out of Harvard that’s far more versatile than Leach ever was.

    Aside from his veteran leadership, which was second to none, I don’t believe his on the field play will be missed.

  12. Rice will still get the same number of carries, BP will be taking away plays from the passing game. Ravens have obviously been preparing to rely more on the run to minimize the weaknesses in their passing game. Smart move if you ask me.

  13. I love Ray Rice but I have to correct anyone who thinks the Ravens’ offense “runs through him.” Check out Ray’s rushing yards in their Super Bowl run: 15 carries for 68 yds vs Colts, 30 carries for 131 yds and a TD @Broncos, 19 carries for 48 yds and a TD @Patriots, 20 carries for 59 yds in Super Bowl..allnof this came behind Vonta Leach who is almost unanimously the best full ack currently im the league. If the offense runs through him, then how did they even make it past the Colts? The Ravens remain one of the few teams truly committed to balancing their offense with multiple backs and an improved passing game and will continue to be that team. Pierce ran better than Rice quite a bit last year, the disparity in their rishing yards is solely due to opportunities. I would expect the load share is pretty close to 50/50 for these two this year. Fortunately for them their drafting has given them the great personnel to succeed this way (Ray Rice. Bernard Pierce, and *gasp* yes Joe Flacco you haters).

  14. I knew Pierce was gonna be a beast when the Ravens drafted him. I watch Temple all the time. The Ravens will have a good duo challenging the Eagles as the best in the league.

  15. This is just like Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes tandem for Ravens First Super Bowl.

    Amazing…Ozzie just keeps drafting gems. Compare that to the Patriots drafting Gronkowski and Hernandez. Party Boy and Killa

  16. i beg to differ crown. because of rice and pierce, who could easily combine for 2500 to 3000 yards of offense, the ravens passing game will be that much better. you have the dual threat rbs, a burner in smith, and pitta and dickson who sure look a lot better then gronk and hernandez these days. wr depth is all that the ravens are missing. hopefully the young guys step up. if not, by releasing leach the team has money to fill in a few holes with a vet or two who gets released.

  17. Yeah, the couple times the Ravens played my Broncos Pierce was alot more explosive than Rice.

    I know Rice is very good but Pierce looked good too.

  18. Rice and Pierce are reminiscent of the Csonka/Kiick combo from the 72 Dolphins. Plus, with such a dominant passing game, the run/pass attack is going to leave those “statistically” good defenses gasping for air. With Rice, Pierce, Smith, Jones, Dickson, Pitta, and Doss, there’s no stopping the 2013 Ravens.

  19. Crown if that were true it would almost be a 180 degree reversal from the offense strategy that won them the championship. Not likely scenario no matter how much you want to find fault with Flacco and the receivers. More likely is they move to a two back rotation with Rice getting the most attempts. With the Jus at FB this could be fun.

  20. The most dynamic two back set since Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen. Enough said. Haters will see this year as the Birds collect a third ring.

    Ravens vs Falcons SB

  21. If Pierce cuts into Rice’s carries but is a liability in the pass game in protection, B-more could have a problem that could end ugly.

    Pierce has earned the carries, he played great at the end of last season. But pass protection can extend a RB’s career, and kill another depending on whether he masters it.

    In the end this seems like the Chargers situation with LT and Michael Turner. LT only had 1 good season left when they let go of Turner, and Turner gave ATL 4 seasons. I say if the opportunity comes, trade Rice while he’s in his prime, get some great picks, and give the reigns to Pierce if the opportunity presents itself.

  22. Gotta say this, from the glimpses I saw, I’d take BP over RR if I was starting a team. Dude seems to have stud-potential, and how many hits does Rice really have left on him. 2, maybe 3 seasons worth?

  23. Pierce is just beginning to shine and Ray Rice hasn’t even hit his peak yet. The only thing that will hurt Rice’s numbers is Flacco’s ability to pick apart the secondary by hurling those perfectly guided missiles downfield.

  24. As a Temple grad and Ravens fan I love BP but I hope the Ravens never rely on him as an every down back. The guy is injury prone.

  25. Baltimorgue is a terrible franchise. I think ray Rice should retire, he is old and can no longer carry that sorry team. Flaco stinks. The Ravens will finish dead last in their division next year. From 1st to worst. Get used to it, cause it will be that way for the next 10 years.

  26. Makes sense that an Indy fan would be upset about Pierce getting a bigger roll since he rolled all over that weak defense for more than 100 yards in the Wild Card game where Indy’s No. 1 draft pick flopped on all attempts to get it into the endzone.

  27. sometimes fans of opposing teams put up posts that make you stop and think. and then you have posts like coltswincolts win’s post, which is absolute nonsense. when last seen, the colts lost to the ravens. rice is old…hes 27 with lots of years left, and if something happens we know pierce can run on the colts. so keep dreaming buddy. the champs will be just fine

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