How Long Will Justin Forsett Be a Raven?

Forsett 728
Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens/Shawn Hubbard

The addition of Justin Forsett wasn’t just a “camp move” for the Ravens.

Unlike many signings that take place during the off-season, where teams add depth just to have warm bodies at camp, Forsett’s signing will mean something once the Ravens take the field on September 7th against the Bengals.

With Ray Rice’s two game suspension – discipline the team anticipated – there is a window of opportunity for Forsett to showcase his abilities in the coming weeks. Many are expecting the team to keep three running backs (not including FB/TE hybrid Kyle Juszczyk), giving Forsett the opportunity to not only make the 53-man roster to start the season, but to fight for a spot when the Ravens’ number one comes back in Week 3.

As RSR’s Tale of the Tape article early in the off-season highlighted, Forsett is a gamer, and he’s shown as much so far this summer.

RSR’s Brian Bower has been on-site at training camp, and has been impressed with what he’s seen live.

Forsett’s work ethic is evident, something that seems to be paying off for the journeyman. He’s reportedly taking some first-team reps along with Rice and Bernard Pierce, and Bower says he’s been turning a few heads.

“He looks fast and he is really excelling in third down passing situations,” Bower says. “He has shown very good hands in the backfield.”

With Pierce expected to handle the load on early-down plays in the first two weeks, Forsett may have the edge over Lorenzo Taliaferro when it comes to the third down and change-of-pace snaps.

While the high draft pick used on the former Coastal Carolina running back would generally give him an edge, don’t be surprised to see the experience of Forsett give him the advantage early.

On the outside, it’s easy to speculate that Gary Kubiak’s offense will feature a certain number of backs, but the recent history of the running back depth chart in Baltimore has been shaky at best.

Simply put, you aren’t going to want to bet any money on this race, as clear as it may seem.

Last year, Bobby Rainey did everything he needed to do to secure a spot on the 53. As easy as the decision seemed to put the shifty back on the roster, the Ravens opted to go elsewhere – ultimately paying for the move mid-season.

It appears likely that the Ravens keep three backs on the active roster all season. Once Rice comes back into the picture in Week 3, Forsett or Taliaferro would presumably be nixed from the active roster – unless, however, both prove they’re too good to let go.

It’s all going to depend on the one or two extra slots on the depth chart and the critical availability the team decides on.

Will the running back battle decide Keith Wenning or Tyrod Taylor’s future in Baltimore?

Does a guy like Michael Campanaro get pushed to the practice squad to make room for a four-headed monster in the backfield?

Ozzie Newsome has decisions to make, and a lot of them can potentially depend on Forsett’s on-field play.

Forsett hopes he can turn the one-year deal he signed in April into a long-term commitment in Baltimore, but he’ll have to come up huge when it counts to work his way around the many obstacles that await.

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About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe is an NFL enthusiast that spends way too much time studying tape, but he wouldn't want it any other way. Joe can be found on Twitter @JoeWedra, where he'll tweet out everything from Ravens analysis to scouting reports on Division II offensive line prospects...all for the love of the...more

One Rave about “How Long Will Justin Forsett Be a Raven?

  1. James on said:

    I don’t know, I find it very unlikely to see the Ravens keep 4 running backs this season. Yes it was surprising to see them cut Rainey last season but it made sense, the team was trying to make room for two fullbacks. Unless they are that worried about injuries I don’t see a guy like Campanaro being cut, considering he has played well and he can play special teams

    I think the better question is, how many receivers will the keep? A lot of people were saying only 5, Smith, Smith, Jones, Brown and Campanaro. But guys like Butler and Aiken are making their presence felt. Right now I would think it would be 6 by adding Butler.
    While Aiken has been making plays, him and Butler seem like similar players but Butler seems to be the faster of the two. We just have to wait and see what happens in these preseason games.

    Another better question is, how many qbs are they keeping? That used to be an easy question to answer, but with Taylor’s welcome wearing thin and Wenning struggling to make a good impression its hard to tell, who will stay. I heard one person say to cut Tayler, sign a veteran(I guess after cuts are made) and send Wenning to the practice squad. It makes sense in theory, but who knows what they will do.

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