Baltimore Ravens third-year pro Bernard Pierce will be the team’s feature back to start the season with Ray Rice serving a light suspension, though I think many people are hoping that Pierce can keep Rice out of the feature back role for more than two games. Last season, both backs struggled mightily in incredibly disappointing seasons, as they were expected to form one of the best running back tandems in the NFL. Instead, they were easily the league’s worst, as they showed no burst but weren’t exactly helped by their offensive line either.
Pierce suffered what was termed as a minor concussion in the preseason, and he started practicing a few days ago. Today, Pierce was cleared from the league’s concussion protocol after practicing on Saturday, and his practice status was upgraded to “full” today. According to the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson, Pierce said of his concussion, “I would say the concussion was minor. I’m full throttle now. It was just dizziness, a little sensitivity to light.”
I know he means well when he downplays the concussion, but I’m sure most of us reading this are thinking, “Well, it is kind of a big deal.”
It’s great to hear that Pierce is fully healthy, and he’ll be poised for a big workload against an excellent Cincinnati Bengals defense, and his ability to put forward a strong display will be key for the Ravens. Their offense will be about establishing the running game so that Joe Flacco can use his strong arm, though the passing attack will be more nuanced than some sort of a vertical attack (Torrey Smith’s role will reflect this). Pierce showed an awful lot of promise as a rookie, so here’s to hoping he can make good on that in 2014.