John Harbaugh Not Worried About Who Starts At Running Back


The last several seasons the Ravens have had a clear workhorse and starter at running back.

This year, there is a backfield-by-committee approach with three different players.

So which method does Head Coach John Harbaugh prefer?

"I don't really care," Harbaugh said. "It doesn't matter. I just want to get yards."

All three of Baltimore's running backs have been given opportunities to shine this year, and each have impressed at times.

Justin Forsett has started the last three games and he leads the group with 50 carries for 297 yards and three touchdowns. He also leads all NFL running backs by averaging 5.94 yards per carry.  Lorenzo Taliaferro is second on the team with 38 carries for 167 yards and two touchdowns, and the hard-running rookie has shown that he can make the jump to the NFL.

Third-year back Bernard Pierce came into the season as the expected starter, but a thigh injury has limited his production and he's played just six snaps the last three weeks. Pierce has 143 yards on 32 carries this year.

Regardless of who gets the carries, Harbaugh was clear about the kind of production he wants from the group.

"I want us to be averaging right around 5 yards, or close to 4.5-5 yards a carry," he said. "Five yards a carry would pretty much lead the league. Let's be between 4 and 5 yards a carry – closer to 5 if we can, because we're running it that well. To do that, we have to rip off some long runs, and let's be good with three different guys. That's what we need to do."

The Ravens are right in the neighborhood of Harbaugh's expectations, as the running backs are averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Baltimore ranks 12th in the NFL with an average of 125.6 rushing yards per game.

"We're about team first," Forsett said. "We have a lot of good running backs with Lorenzo, and BP is a great back. It's our job to go out there and just produce when our number is called."

Forsett has taken the lion's share of the carries in recent weeks with Pierce hobbled. Forsett played 43 snaps against the Colts, compared to nine for Taliaferro and six for Pierce.

A big part of the uneven distribution last week was the Ravens' inability to sustain drives, but Harbaugh indicated that the numbers could be more balanced in future weeks.

"I'd like to see Bernard get a few more snaps. I'd like to see Lorenzo get a few more snaps," he said. "It would sure help if we got a few more snaps. If we get more snaps, then everybody is going to get more chances, and that's what we have to do."

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