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Shadowing Bengals runner Giovani Bernard ranks high on Ravens' priority list

Cincinnati Bengals Running back Giovani Bernard against the Ravens this season.
Cincinnati Bengals Running back Giovani Bernard against the Ravens this season. (Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

Shadowing Cincinnati Bengals multidimensional running back Giovani Bernard is among the Ravens' top defensive priorities heading into Sunday's game at Paul Brown Stadium.

Bernard is a dangerous threat out of the backfield who has caught 19 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown in three games against the Ravens. Since being drafted in the second round last year out of North Carolina, Bernard has rushed for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns with 76 receptions for 691 yards and three touchdowns.

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With plenty of athleticism and speed working in his favor, Bernard is someone the Ravens are paying attention to as they make their preparations for Sunday.

"In man coverage, you have to keep an eye on Bernard and make sure we play top-down in coverage and get everybody running to the ball," Ravens rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "They like a lot of screens. They did about three or four screens in the first game."

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During the Ravens' season-opening 23-16 loss to the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium, Bernard caught six passes for 62 yards and rushed for 48 yards on 14 carries.

"It's hectic, but you've got to know where Bernard is," middle linebacker Daryl Smith said. "They do a lot to get the ball to him. We've got to know who's where and be focused on our assignments on each play."

Working in tandem with rookie power back Jeremy Hill, Bernard has rushed for 401 yards and four touchdowns with a long run of 89 yards this season. He's also caught 20 passes for 177 yards.

During a conference call with Baltimore reporters, Bernard said he doesn't concentrate on matchups with certain players as much as he thinks about an entire defense.

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"I don't really look at individual players," Bernard said. "I kind of look at the scheme and the Ravens have a really good scheme. It's just a matter of converting on third downs and not turning the ball over. I kind of base my opponents not just off their individual talents, but how they play as a team. At the end of the day, this is a team sport."

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