In case you haven’t heard, running back Ray Rice is among five Ravens listed as doubtful with a strained left hip flexor for their contest against the Texans. Meanwhile, linebacker Arthur Brown is dealing with a pectoral strain, defensive lineman Chris Canty has a thigh injury, defensive tackle Brandon Williams has a hurt toe and wide receiver Deonte Thompson is battling a nagging foot injury.
To round out the Ravens injury report, wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee) and center Ryan Jensen (foot) are listed as out, while cornerback Chykie Brown is questionable with a knee injury.
For the Texans, starting left tackle Duane Brown (toe), tight end Garrett Graham (hip/groin) and free safety Ed Reed (hip) are all listed as questionable, while a plethora of players are listed as probable, including wide receiver Andre Johnson (concussion).
Most football fans and football people understand that the words “questionable” and “game-time decision” are usually much better for injured combatants in regards to their status for a football game.
Earlier in the week, the Ravens’ head coach mentioned that Rice was going to be a game-time decision on Sunday; but given his extremely limited practice availability this week, and the fact that Rice hasn’t really dealt with any injuries during his six-year career, it appears as if the Ravens will side with caution and roll with running backs Bernard Pierce and Shaun Draughn as a one-two punch.
The Ravens have the utmost confidence in Pierce, as offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has said that he expect him to get the bulk of the carries, while newly-acquired No. 3 running back Shaun Draughn should make his Ravens debut in some form or fashion.
Regardless of how he’s used on Sunday, Pierce has the correct mindset in that he doesn’t view himself as a backup running back, but rather as a compliment to Rice. At least in my eyes, he could be a starting running back for at least half of the teams in the NFL.
I compare Pierce to free agent running back Michael Turner – a north-south runner who beats opponents with his bruising style. He can catch passes too, something Turner never really offered the San Diego Chargers or the Atlanta Falcons.
It appears to be a tall task for the Ravens as they will be short-handed, but don’t doubt the boys in purple as they live off of playing the underdog. Emotions will also be high with the induction of former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis into the Ravens’ Ring of Honor.