The Baltimore Ravens are looking to avoid the let-down that many NFL teams experience as they come off a season where they won the Super Bowl. Considering the leadership and the talent that they lost due to retirement and free agency this off-season, though, it seems like a distinct possibility that the Ravens will regress in the 2013 season.
Since the team is trying to avoid that, though, they are likely going to be making some changes to their style and game-plan for the 2013 season. They will obviously keep their defensive scheme in place for the most part due to the success they’ve derived from that. However, they are likely going to be switching some things up offensively.
Joe Flacco, with his new contract under his belt, will obviously still be under center for Baltimore and Ray Rice will still be the featured running back. Rice, though, may have less of a role this season in the interest of keeping him healthy and effective. Subsequently, Bernard Pierce is likely to see more touches this season.
Rice is in just his six year and is still relatively young, but he’s had a massive workload since he became the Ravens primary back four seasons ago. For instance, Rice had 257 carries and 61 receptions last season, which is a ton. Rice also looked to be fatigued towards the end of the season and like the workload had taken its toll. Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Pierce had just 108 carries and seven receptions last season.
Though Pierce’s workload was relatively small, he was big for them when he was on the field last season. He rushed for 532 yards on those 108 carries, good enough for a nice 4.9 yards per carry average. He scored just one touchdown, but 25 of his 115 overall touches went for first downs, which is a really impressive number.
Allowing Pierce to get more touches would be the smart move for the Ravens. Pierce has shown that he’s a talented back that can succeed in the team’s offense. By alleviating some of the work Rice has had to do in recent seasons, it will not only give Pierce a chance to shine, but make Rice more effective late in the season because he won’t be as run-down; and that’s really when you want Rice at his best, after all.