Time for Baltimore Ravens to Deem Bernard Pierce the Starter

By Jermaine Lockett

Evan Habeeb USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens believe Ray Rice is still in the future plans of the organization, but they did not say at what capacity.The incident that happened this past weekend with Rice and his fiancee in an Atlantic City casino bares no weight on this situation, but it does make the fans focus on Rice’s future with the team.With last season being a career-worst as a starter in Baltimore, is it time to finally crown Bernard Pierce the starter in this tandem?

Rice may have had one of the worst offensive lines that he has ever had as a Raven last year, but John Harbaugh still expected him to produce.In his defense, the second he touched the ball out of the backfield he was being smacked by an opposing DT.There were times where the line actually did their job; the hole was created, but Rice had poor vision or tried to dance instead of hitting it.The run-game failure falls on his hands just as much as the line and the coaching staff.

Pierce has shown flashes of greatness in the past and even last season in some of his opportunities.I believe that there are RBs who can dance all night and then there are guys who see an objective and capture it.Pierce is a guy who captures objectives.When he is given an assignment to hit a hole, there may be some patience but his vision to find the hole and flow through it is remarkable. 

As we could see during the 2013 preseason and the 2012 season, Pierce is not just going for the 5-10-yard gain; he is looking to bust every run wide open for six.Rice had that vision in the past, and that is what made him so valuable to Rutgers and to the Ravens.Initially I was reluctant to believe that Rice had lost a step.I believed that his hip injury had something to do with the lack of production, but according to an interview with Baltimoreravens.com, he even said that it didn’t.

What we do know is that for 2014 Ray Rice will be in the backfield.Whether he will get the majority of the snaps is still up in the air.We know that Pierce is slowly becoming the better back.We know that According to Sarah Ellison of Baltimore Ravens.com, Rice would save $3 million in cap space if cut next year before June 1 deadline, and we know if he can’t produce more the Ravens will have no problem letting the three-time Pro-Bowler go.  

Jermaine Lockett is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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