Time for Ravens' Bernard Pierce to carry the rock

Bernard Pierce will likely be the go-to running back on Sunday with Ray Rice listed as doubtful. - USA TODAY Sports

With Ray Rice doubtful, Bernard Pierce is the next man up at running back for the Baltimore Ravens.

Consider this a brief audition for Bernard Pierce.

With Ray Rice listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans, the Ravens will need Pierce to be their go-to guy in the ground game. It won't be an easy task as Houston has a tough defensive front to run against.

Neither Pierce or Rice has found much running room to start the season. In two games, Pierce has carried the ball 28 times for 79 yards and a touchdown. That's good for just 2.8 yards per carry.

Pierce is a hard-nosed tough runner that enjoys contact. He often lowers his shoulder to deliver blows to defenders as opposed to taking them. If the Ravens' offensive line can generate a push against a sound Texans' front, then Pierce might be able to help the Ravens control the clock this Sunday.

"I do think he does have that potential," Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said during his media availability on Thursday. "He's a skilled back with some power and speed. He's been a guy that runs extremely hard, and when you look at our situation right now, he's going to have to carry a little bit more of a load. We fully expect him to step up and do the job."

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

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