Are the Ravens leaning toward a running-back-by committee system in 2016?
That depends on how their crowded running back situation plays out. With the expected addition of Trent Richardson sometime in April, the Ravens will have a surplus of running backs for offseason activities that also includes Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West, and Terrence Magee.
That raised a question sent to me by reader @ravenomics on Twitter:
“Why do the Ravens have so many backs?” @ravenomics asked.
My theory is that coach John Harbaugh is determined to have a strong running game next season, by any means necessary.
If Forsett, who turns 31 years old in October, can still run effectively handling 200 carries or more, then the Ravens will ride him. Forsett isn’t afraid of competition, and this crowded backfield situation may bring out his best.
However, Forsett is going to be pushed, because the rest of the group should be hungry.
- Allen gained 514 yards as a rookie and took over as the starter after Forsett broke his arm.
- Taliaferro is eager to show he can stay healthy, after foot injuries his first two seasons.
- West, the former Towson star, who has an opportunity to resurrect his career at home in Baltimore, after the Browns and Titans gave up on him.
- Magee, an undrafted free agent, wants to show he can stick in the NFL.
- Richardson was a huge draft bust after being the No. 3 pick overall by the Browns in 2012. He has more to prove than anyone in the group. This could be his last NFL shot.
All of these backs won’t be on the roster Week 1, but having a large crowd at the position in April is not a problem. Coming off a 5-11 season, when they didn’t run the football well enough, the Ravens have raised the stakes at running back. The message has been sent. Carries and roster spots will be earned, not given.