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Ravens face balancing act in backfield with Ray Rice's suspension approaching

The Ravens are approaching the time when they’ll need to focus on getting backup running back Bernard Pierce the bulk of the workload in advance of starter Ray Rice’s two-game suspension.

The balancing act between how the Ravens should divide carries between Pierce and Rice is expected to become more of a hot-button issue heading into their third preseason game next week against the Washington Redskins.

The third preseason game is when the Ravens traditionally play the starters into the third quarter since they won’t play in the fourth and final preseason game prior to the start of the regular season.

Rice is out for the first two games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers due to a violation of the NFL personal-conduct policy stemming from his domestic violence arrest and felony aggravated assault charge in February.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is expected to adjust the playing time next week, but Rice will likely have his usual allotment of work with the first-team offense Saturday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

“That’s coach’s call,” offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said. “John has talked about that, but we’re still early in camp. I’m sure it’s something John will address as we get to next week. Obviously, there comes a point where somebody else is probably going to have to work as a starter as we move forward.

“But you still have to get Ray ready to play because come Week Three, he’s going to bounce right back in there. It’s a tough dynamic, and coach will work us through it. He’ll tell us what he wants us to do.”

Less of Wenning

Rookie quarterback Keith Wenning has lost some weight in an effort to upgrade his mobility.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, the sixth-round draft pick is down to about 212 pounds.

“We just thought he was big and thick in his hips and stuff,” Kubiak said. “We thought he could move around a little better. I just see a difference. He’s bouncing around a little better.”

Kubiak said he’s noticed improvement from the former Ball State standout over the past week.

“He can make every throw, he has a really good arm,” Kubiak said. “Huddle-wise, the verbiage was very difficult for Keith coming from where he came from ... He’s catching up on that part. He’s been what we’ve through he was.”

End zone

Kubiak said backup tight end Owen Daniels was given the day off on Wednesday. “He’s fine,” Kubiak said. … Loyola University basketball coach G.G. Smith attended the Ravens’ practice as a guest.

awilson@baltsun.com

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