Bernard Pierce Has 'Swag' After First Game


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The stat sheet says rookie running back Bernard Pierce had four carries for one yard. But that's not at all indicative Pierce's successful debut.

The third-round pick looked fleet-footed and powerful in Friday's preseason game versus Detroit, and showed he's the front-runner for the backup running back spot.

"I would say that everybody needs to have that swag, that confidence to show off what they can do under any system," Pierce said afterwards. "So, I would say I'm real confident."

Pierce missed eight training camp practices and the first preseason game due to an injured hamstring. He quickly got into the game Friday night as the first substitute for Pro Bowler Ray Rice.

Pierce started with a 10-yard catch, flashing his good hands. The play was called back, however, because there was an ineligible player downfield.

The Ravens kept feeding Pierce though. Two plays later he had a run to the right for a gain of six yards, showing good vision to hit the hole and a pushing style to keep churning after contact.

But on the very next play (a toss to the right), Pierce had nowhere to go in the backfield and tried to do too much. He went backwards, and was brought down for a loss of 14 yards.

The Temple product came back on the next snap for a 7-yard gain. He kept his feet by putting one hand down (Rice's signature move) after taking initial contact, and bounced around the left end. Pierce had one more carry for two yards before the Ravens sat him for the rest of the night.

"[The Lions] probably weren't expecting me to bounce off a lot of plays, but I am a little shifty too," Pierce said. "Just because I'm 225 [pounds] doesn't mean I can't move."

Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked for his thoughts on Pierce's debut.

"Kind of what we expected to see," he said. "He looks like a talented guy. He ran hard, he had some quickness in there. We saw enough for tonight coming off that hamstring I think he has been working with. And, hopefully, we can keep him getting healthier and see more the next couple weeks."

Pierce gave himself a C-minus grade for the night.

He showed flashes of his potential, but said there are little things that fans don't notice, such as running the right track or the correct pass route to sit down in coverage that he needs to improve.

Pierce is in the running for the No. 2 running back job with second-year players Anthony Allen and Damien Berry and rookie free agent Bobby Rainey.

Rainey didn't have quite as impressive of a showing as he did last week in Atlanta. He rushed three times for three yards and caught four passes for 20 yards.

Other than Pierce, Berry stood out the most. He was targeted with six passes and caught all of them for a team-leading 59 yards receiving. Last year's practice-squad player ran three times for 13 yards and nearly broke loose for a touchdown in the third quarter, but was tripped up after 11 yards.

Pierce said he's not thinking about the competition for the backup role.

"You can't think about it," he said. "If you think about it, that's just another thing that's going to hinder your performance on game day."

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