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John Harbaugh Discusses Roster Decisions At Tight End And Running Back


The Ravens have some decisions to make on the roster front.

They have a logjam at running back, and tight end Darren Waller is also eligible to return from a four-game suspension. The Ravens would have to clear space on the roster if they are going to put Waller on the 53-man squad.

In terms of running back, Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked about whether Justin Forsett's roster spot is secure after Terrance West made a strong case to earn the starting job on Sunday. Rookie Kenneth Dixon is also expected to return from a knee injury.

"Justin Forsett is a highly respected, highly valued guy in my eyes," Harbaugh said. "It's a competitive world that we're in. It's a competitive league, it's a competitive sport, and he knows that as well as anybody. It doesn't diminish him in any way. It just enhances him, in terms of how he's handled it. We'll just have to see."

West had the best game of any running back this season, putting up 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. It was the first time this year the Ravens gave a running back a full workload rather than splitting the carries.

West seemed to be in line for the starting job after the performance, but Harbaugh didn't commit to anyone as the starter. 

"I'm not going to get into all of that," Harbaugh said. "I think that's all great to write about, but it's nothing for us to waste any energy on. We're going to put the guys out that are playing well."

Another possibility at running back is for Dixon to challenge for carries. Dixon returned to practice last week after being sidelined with a knee injury, and he could make his debut Sunday against Washington.

Dixon was challenging for the starting job before getting hurt in the third preseason game, and the Ravens are excited about his potential.

"Our guys know this: if you're playing hard, you're playing smart, and you're playing fundamentally sound, and you're productive, you have a chance of being out there again because everybody is counting on everybody else to get the job done," Harbaugh said. "If one of those things falls down,  then you leave the door open for another guy to get their opportunity."

At tight end, the decision with Waller could depend on the health status of Maxx Williams, who left Sunday's game with a knee injury. Williams has been battling the knee injury since training camp, and his status is a bit in limbo.

"It's a cartilage issue that he's got in there. It's not something that can be fixed until it's fixed," Harbaugh said. "It's just something he has to play with and play through. The doctors have to tell us what's the best course of action going forward. He can still play. Is it the best thing for him and all of that? We'll have to figure that out."

Waller, 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, made the transition from receiver to tight end this offseason. He has tremendous potential and the Ravens like his ability on special teams, but the Ravens already have three tight ends in Williams, Crockett Gillmore and Dennis Pitta.

The Ravens have time to decide if they want to activate Waller. Harbaugh said they have a week to decide whether to put him on the 53-man roster.

"We'll see how that plays out," he said.

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