Bernard Pierce, the rookie running back from Temple, admits it took him awhile to start grasping the Ravens playbook this spring after they selected him in the third round of the 2012 draft.
When I first got here I didnt know right from left, honestly, Pierce said with a smile after Wednesdays training camp practice in Owings Mills. But now that weve been through minicamps, OTAs and the rookies had another minicamp, theyve been instilling the (playbook) installs in us. Im a lot more comfortable with the playbook.
The Ravens have never publicly stated their expectations for Pierce, merely lumping him in with Anthony Allen and Damien Berry as the prime candidates for the job of backing up Ray Rice.
But it goes without saying that the Ravens expect Pierce to earn significant playing time after they moved up in the draft to make him the 84th overall selection. He is a third-round pick (just one round lower than Rice) while Allen was a seventh-round pick in 2011 and Berry joined the team as an undrafted free agent.
But Pierce, who scored 27 touchdowns last season as Temple, is clearly taking nothing for granted.
Everybody (on the team) is trying to get a job, he said. I just need to beat out whoever is in front of me to get that job The other two (Allen and Berry) are really good guys. We already have a friendship, so right now its just competition.
Asked to spell out what he would bring to the job Ricky Williams held last year, Pierce said, Im a downhill, hard-nosed runner. Ive got a knack for the end zone, with a nice combination of speed, quickness and power. Whatever you want me to do for you, I'll get it done.
Williams gained 444 yards on 108 carries last season as the change-of-pace runner in Cam Camerons offense. Then he surprisingly retired, just days after saying he would return in 2012.
The Ravens are definitely looking for one of the younger guys to inherit Williams' role, and Pierce said he is ready to compete.
I look forward to every practice, being able to go out on the field and do my best every day, he said. Im definitely looking to turn heads every day on the practice field.