Justin Forsett Starring In Ravens Backfield


Justin Forsett stood at his locker with a cut across the bridge of his nose.

"Last time I had a cut was probably when I was a [special teams] wedge buster my rookie year in Seattle," he said with a smile.

"It feels good. I'm thankful for the opportunity. I could be at home on the couch watching these games, and I don't take it for granted."

Forsett was in danger of being out of the NFL this offseason. The seven-year veteran running back had just six rushing attempts with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season before ending the year on injured reserve. He was cut in March.

The Ravens scooped him up about a month later, but Forsett was seen by many pundits as a stop-gap backup during Ray Rice's original two-game suspension.

Now Forsett is a big part of the Ravens offense.

Four games into the season, Forsett ran out of the M&T Bank Stadium tunnel as the team's starter for the second straight contest. He delivered yet another strong performance, running 14 times for 66 yards and one touchdown. Forsett leads the NFL with 5.8 yards per carry.

The Ravens didn't give Bernard Pierce any carries because his thigh was not 100 percent, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh. But even if Pierce were healthy, Forsett could be the featured running back going forward.

Forsett has done a lot of damage by being physical, which isn't what one would expect from a 5-foot-8, 197-pound running back. A lot of his rushing yards have come after contact, and that was perfectly displayed in his 11-yard touchdown run.

He ran through arm tackle attempts by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly and fellow linebacker A.J. Klein. Then Forsett ran over hard-hitting safety Roman Harper before leaping into the end zone.

"I remember reading way back when, Woody Hayes' book, when I was almost a kid, and he called it 'a string of pearls.' How many tacklers can you leave in your wake?" Harbaugh said.

"That's kind of a measurement of a great back. And Justin is playing that way."

Forsett now has a pair of touchdowns on the year to go along with his 44 carries for 255 yards.

"I know I'm not the goal-line back. So any opportunity I get a chance to score, I've got to get in there," Forsett said.

"Sometimes I get characterized as a 'scatback,' which I don't understand. I'm not really that fast. I like to make people miss, I like to be physical, I love pass protecting. That's my style."

It remains to be seen how the Ravens will use their three running backs once they're all totally healthy.

Either way, Forsett has earned his place as a big part of the Ravens offense.

"Last year I was stuck at the bottom of the depth chart. I was on injured reserve at the end of the year, not knowing if I was going to ever play again," Forsett said. "So my mindset is to go out like every down, every snap is my last."

Taliaferro said the players have gained a great amount of respect for Forsett, and said it's not a surprise he has performed so well.

"The way Justin carries himself off the field, you wouldn't expect anything less," Taliaferro said. "He's a great guy, hard worker. I watch everything he does and how he prepares, and it helps me to get better as well."

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