Come next week, the Ravens will likely have to prepare for Rice's upcoming two-game suspension. The third preseason game is typically considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season, and that probably means Rice will have to give way to the Ravens' other running backs.
It's expected that Bernard Pierce will take over as the starting running back for the Aug. 23 game against the Washington Redskins. Over the past week, Pierce and rookie fourth-round draft pick Lorenzo Taliaferro have received reps with the first-team offense in practice.
How the reps will change at running back is coach John Harbaugh's call, according to offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
“John has talked about that, but we’re still early in camp [and we’ll] keep going, but I’m sure it’s something John will address as we get to next week," Kubiak said. "Obviously, there comes a point where somebody else is probably going to have to work as a starter as we move forward. But you still have to get Ray ready to play, because come Week 3, he’s going to bounce right back in there. It’s a tough dynamic, and Coach will work us through it. He’ll tell us what he wants us to do.”
In the preseason opener, Rice gained 17 yards on three carries in one series of work. Pierce rushed for 37 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries, and Taliaferro led the Ravens with 71 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
Rice's suspension takes effect on Aug. 30. He can rejoin practicing with the team on Sept. 11.