Player Profile: Bernard Pierce

J. Meric

Most Raven fans know who Bernard Pierce is: he's Ray Rice's right-hand man for the Ravens' offensive run game. Look for Pierce to get some serious exposure and touches this season, as the Ravens will be forced to adjust to the offensive losses in Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta

Bernard Pierce came to Baltimore last year as a third-round back out of Temple with some questionable behavioral issues. Ozzie must have seen something special from the start though, because Baltimore traded up to snag him in the 2012 draft. Since then, Pierce has complemented Rice's running game effortlessly and successfully. Last year the two combined for 1,675 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Here's why Pierce is on pace to become a focal member of the Ravens' offense this coming season...

Ray Rice is a dual-threat back in that he can not only pick up solid yards on the ground, but also has great hands for catching and has proven his ability to gain yards in the air. With Anquan Boldin in San Francisco, Torrey Smith has become Joe Flacco's go-to target down the field. The #2 spot is still up for grabs, but this means that Caldwell will be looking to utilize Rice more in the air. It's safe to say Ray Rice is one of the best receivers on the Ravens' roster, and he can provide Flacco with consistency in that regard.

This offensive scheme leaves Pierce with a prime opportunity. Since Rice's role as receiver is likely to increase in 2013, he will need more time to rest and another back to take his snaps. The Rice-Pierce tandem is a creative one, and one poised for success. Both guys can catch and both guys can run, and they understand the game. This pair is one that challenges the likes of C.J. Spiller-Fred Taylor, and Arian Foster-Ben Tate, to name a couple.

Pierce impressed in last years's Super Bowl, under the big lights and when it mattered the most. He knows what it takes to win, and is always willing and able to do the dirty work in the backfield to get there. I'm optimistic about his role and potential this coming season.

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