Baltimore Ravens: Midseason Grades for Every Player

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Running Backs

Oct 19, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) warms up prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Forsett – A+

No Raven has exceeded expectations more than Justin Forsett. Expected to be a role player at best, Forsett has become the Ravens’ featured back and is on pace for an 1,142 yard season. Crazy stuff for one of the Ravens’ least expensive players.

Forsett has done it not with flashy plays, but by consistently finding the right hole and exploding through it. His vision has been remarkable and has been the main catalyst for the Ravens’ success on the ground this year.

Beyond his vision, Forsett has occasionally flashed signs of being a remarkably slippery runner. Defenders seem to bounce off of him in the open field, as his small frame and surprising strength make him very difficult to bring down.

Through the air, Forsett has been a reliable safety valve for Flacco, racking up 26 catches but only taking them for 135 yards. Teams have keyed on him out of the backfield, but that hasn’t kept him from being a factor.

Lorenzo Taliaferro – A-

Lorenzo Taliaferro’s season has been pure feast-or-famine, having received over 15 snaps in just three games this season. In those three games, Taliaferro has been very productive, having scored all four of his touchdowns in those three games.

Taliaferro has been good at picking up yards after contact this season, and his vision has been better than advertised. Though his role has been inconsistent, Taliaferro has impressed more often than not when on the field.

Bernard Pierce – C

With better blocking, Bernard Pierce was supposed to become the featured back for the Ravens. Instead, Pierce has struggled his way to the bench, being a healthy scratch Week 8 against the Bengals. Pierce has averaged just 3.6 yards per carry, struggling with vision and not being as elusive as he was in his dynamic rookie year.

At this point, Pierce is a longshot to ever be a productive player again. But nobody should have been expecting that much anyway from a player who averaged under three yards per carry on 152 carries a year ago.

Kyle Juszczyk – B+

Kyle Juszczyk has been quietly competent, not demolishing players like Vonta Leach once did, but simply executing blocks and producing when called upon. Though he hasn’t carried the football yet, Juszczyk has caught nine balls for 116 yards and a touchdown, showing a knack for breaking tackles when in the open field.

Getting this hard-nosed young man the ball needs to be a priority in the second half of the season. Good things happen when the Ravens get Juiced.