Rookie Running Back Buck Allen Next In Line


Rookie running back Buck Allen entered his first training camp in competition for the backup running back spot behind entrenched starter Justin Forsett.

Allen was competing with Lorenzo Taliaferro, who had toned up this offseason and looked ready to take on a big role in his second NFL season.

But now Taliaferro is hurt and expected to miss a few weeks with an MCL sprain, meaning Allen has more carries coming his way in the immediate future. It also means the rookie has two more preseason games to show the Ravens he's ready to enter the regular season as the No. 2 back.

"It's times like this where you prove yourself," Allen said after Tuesday's practice. "It's a great opportunity for me to go out and show the coaches, and even the veterans on the team, that I can go out there whenever they call on me and execute.

The Ravens had high expectations for Allen when they drafted him in the fourth round out of Southern California. He's a dual-purpose back who put up more than 2,000 yards last season, including 1,489 rushing yards. He also scored 12 total touchdowns.

The Ravens saw the 6-foot-0, 220-pound running back as an ideal fit in their stretch-zone running scheme, and he's shown bright spots in the first two preseason contests.

"Allen I thought ran the ball really well – great vision, showed some real looseness in there," Head Coach John Harbaugh said after Allen carried six times for 19 yards against the Eagles. 

Allen leads the Ravens with 17 carries and 54 rushing yards in the preseason. He also has two catches for 25 receiving yards. 

"He obviously has great hands, and he has good vision," Running Backs Coach Thomas Hammock said. "He has done a nice job competing, working hard every day to get better [and] to get more comfortable in our offense."

Allen's playing time so far has mostly come in the second half of games, after the starters have already gone to the sidelines. That's going to change Saturday against Washington, as the Ravens typically play their starters into the third quarter during the third preseason game.

"I've been waiting on this moment my whole life, and I just have to take advantage of it," Allen said.

The Ravens have limited Forsett's carries in the preseason because they already know what to expect from him, meaning Allen will get plenty of snaps behind the first-team offensive line.

The coaches also want to get a good look at young running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Terrence Magee. Toussaint made the team as an undrafted product last year, and Magee hopes to do the same this year.

"They all have an opportunity to show what they can do, and the great thing is, we've got two more games for guys to go out there and prove exactly what type of player they want to be," Hammock said. "It is an opportunity for all the guys, to be honest with you. It is who gives us the best chance to win."

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