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Bernard Pierce learning to share time in crowded backfield

FootballBernard PierceRay RiceAnthony AllenCam CameronNFL Draft

Bernard Pierce has gone from carrying the workload to sharing it.

The rookie running back is regarded as the primary backup to starter Ray Rice, but Anthony Allen got the first carry in Rice’s place in the Ravens’ 9-6 win against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday.

If Pierce was disappointed, he didn’t show it.

“I wouldn’t say it was a surprise,” he said. “We have a certain rotation that we like to do for certain plays. His play was called, and his time was called. So he got in.”

Allen, who took his only handoff in the third quarter of Sunday’s contest, said he wasn’t sure he would play until offensive coordinator Cam Cameron called his number.

“I was just working my way in,” Allen said. “Ray got tired, and Coach told me to go in. So I was just ready to go in. I didn’t ask why.”

Cameron said the offense has a specified rotation for both Pierce and Allen. Without delving into those plans, Cameron said both tailbacks bring value to the unit.

“For every young player, it’s ever evolving,” he said of their development. “As Bernard grows and Anthony is just a super, super smart football player, there are certain defenses where they create more problems for a running back mentally. Obviously, Anthony is a year older, one year longer in the system, a little more experience. So by game plan, we may choose to use that. You’ve seen that we have a lot of confidence in BP.”

Pierce has carried the ball 19 times for 101 yards, while Allen has rushed just five times for 13 yards. Pierce, who averaged 221 runs in three years at Temple University, said he understood his role when the organization selected him in the third round of April’s NFL draft.

“I knew what it was going to be, being behind Ray Rice,” Pierce said. “It wasn’t really much of a surprise. I’m growing into the roles that I’ve been given, and it’s a learning process. So that’s what I’m doing.”

Like any reserve, Pierce, who has also caught one pass for 10 yards, said he is eager to get more playing time. But he’s also patient enough to wait and learn from his older teammates until then.

“At the end of the day, that’s not my decision, and I trust in my coaches to have the right game plan in mind for me,” he said. “So I just go with the flow of the game. At the end of the day, all that matters is the W. I’m not a selfish person at all.”

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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