John Harbaugh doesn't care who Ravens' featured running back is
By By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun|
Oct 07, 2014 | 7:09 AM
When the Ravens run the ball, the identity of their ball carrier tends to vary from play to play.
The Ravens have embraced a committee approach in their backfield, dividing the workload between veterans Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro.
They've combined for 607 yards and five touchdowns, and the Ravens are the lone NFL team with three backs with over 30 carries. Forsett is the leading rusher with 297 yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries, followed by Taliaferro (38 carries, 167 yards, two touchdowns) and Pierce (32 carries, 143 yards).
Harbaugh indicated no preference in having one player establish himself as the featured running back.
"I don't really care," he said. "It doesn't matter. I just want to get yards. Five yards a carry would pretty much lead the league. To do that, we have to rip off some long runs and lets be good with three different guys. That's what we need to do. So, we'll roll those guys in there.
"I'd like to see Bernard get a few more snaps. I'd like to see Lorenzo get a few more snaps. It would sure help if we got a few more snaps. If we get more snaps, then everybody is going to get more chances, and that's what we have to do. Again, you earn the right to run more plays on offense, and we need to earn that right by executing."
The Ravens rank 12th in rushing offense with an average of 125.6 yards per game. Theeir 4.7 yards per carry ranks ninth.
During a 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Pierce rushed for 30 yards on four carries, gaining 25 yards on his first two carries.
"I felt good, like I was able to contribute to the best of my ability," Pierce said. "Hopefully, that's a start of more to come."
The Ravens rushed for a season-low 90 yards on 15 carries against the Colts, largely abandoning the run as they trailed throughout the game.
The Ravens only had 57 offensive plays against the Colts and went 1 for 11 on third down. They lost the time of possession battle, 38:43 to 21:17.
"You can't run the ball too much when you don't get many plays," Harbaugh said. "That's what it really boils down to. The biggest problem we had is not the number of runs, or anything like that, it's not converting. When you go 1-for-11 on third down, and you turn the ball over, which is what we did in the first half, that combination of not converting on third down and turning the ball over means you don't get very many plays. We turned the ball over the first play of the drive, and then we hand them a dropped punt, so it takes away a series there."