If Forsett Plays Well What Will The Ravens Do?

Forsett 728
Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens/Shawn Hubbard

It’s tough to read too much into OTAs. With no pads and a lack of physicality, you can only take away so much from the the first couple weeks of preparation. Despite this, there will obviously be some early opinions and first impressions made by both the coaching staff and media.

Generally speaking, most of the things you are hearing out of Ravens camp have been positive after an offseason that was filled with mostly negative news.

Steve Smith looks more like he just turned 25 rather than 35. Kelechi Osemele seems to be fully recovered from back surgery, and Dennis Pitta looks like Dennis Pitta from 2012.

But perhaps the most common sentiment among everything you read, is how impressive Justin Forsett has looked. As RSR’s Tony Lombardi pointed out in his early OTA takeaways, Forsett is the fastest player on the field. His quickness and ability to change direction hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff, and he has a familiarity with Gary Kubiak’s offense.

Most importantly, he is the only running back on the Ravens roster who isn’t either injured or found trouble off the field this offseason.

With Bernard Pierce recovering from shoulder surgery, and Ray Rice and Lorenzo Taliaferro possibly missing time early in the season because of suspensions, Forsett is likely to not just make the team, but play a significant role early in the season.

So perhaps the biggest question is, what will the Ravens do if he plays well?

Despite their struggles last season, Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce will be given the opportunity to redeem themselves. A lot of people think Rice’s best years are behind him, and they may be right, but the Ravens will give him the opportunity to prove them wrong.

Pierce was a third-round pick in 2012, and flashed great potential in his rookie campaign. While his sophomore season left much to be desired, he gets a pass considering the overall state of last year’s offense and more specifically the offensive line.

The Ravens invested a fourth round pick in Lorenzo Taliaferro. He is the big bodied, goal line bruiser who fills a team need. His arrest was poorly timed and disappointing, but considering where he was drafted and the many question marks that linger in coach Thomas Hammock’s unit, he’s all but a lock to make the team.

Add it up and it represents a golden opportunity for journeyman Justin Forsett?

What if he makes the most of his opportunities early on?

If he’s the Ravens number one running back in weeks 1 and 2 and has back to back 100 yard games to start the season, what does John Harbaugh do if Rice returns from his suspension in week 3?

One can certainly make the argument that despite his down year in 2013, Rice deserves the opportunity to redeem himself and prove his critics wrong. Considering how important he’s been to the Ravens offense the last six years, he’s earned it.

But if Forsett seizes his opportunities, and his success in practice transitions to production on the field, John Harbaugh and the coaching staff will have to find a way to work him into the game plan, even if that takes touches away from Rice or Pierce.

Considering he’s only made headlines so far for the right reasons, he’s earned it too.

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About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones is a native of Belair, MD and has been an avid Ravens fan since they came to Baltimore in 1996. He lived in Federal Hill, MD before moving to Boston in 2006. He is the cofounder of Ravens Nation North, a contingent of Ravens fans living in Boston...more

3 Raves on “If Forsett Plays Well What Will The Ravens Do?

  1. gregg on said:

    Ray Rice had Pro Bowl seasons in the recent past. He should be given the opportunity to win his job back. It appears that that scenario is true since he was allowed to work with the first team offense during the recent OTA’s. However, if Forsett produces when given the chance then I see no reason not to go with the hot hand. The first 3 games of the season are critical for the Ravens since they are against divisional opponents. The Ravens have to start fast and they know it. In the NFL it is win first then worry about egos later.

  2. D-Rock on said:

    I think this is one of the biggest questions for this team. I also think the Ravens don’t even know what they would do at this point. Injuries happen to RBs all the time, especially Pierce…. Forsett may be sticking around for a while.

  3. r mattioli on said:

    I think the writers on this blog do an excellent job of keeping offseason football conversation going and keeping it interesting….good job to t.l.,r.j. and the other writers..

    we all hope this is the “problem” the ravens are faced with concerning the offensive backfield…the more immediate question that the front office had better worry about is if forsett actually looks like the guy that`s never really been able to crack a starting line-up,rice is suspended early and pierce has lingering problems from his surgery?…. I personally didn`t like the Taliaferro pick(after the f.o. passed on an opportunity to take their pick of any rb in the draft to take Jernigan)…but,that`s water under the bridge…..

    we have to hope that the problem that`s presented falls into the “we have too many guys and can`t get them all the ball” category rather than 2013 redux………maybe I`ll be wrong and Taliaferro morphs into a reincarnation of Jerome bettis…

    bottom line,we`d better hope for the best but plan for the worst…

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