Late For Work 5/2: Bernard Pierce Biggest Sleeper?

Bruschi returned Harbs’ call, says ‘We’re all good.’ Power rankings.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at 9:11 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Bernard Pierce Biggest Sleeper?

Watch out for the emergence of Ravens’ third-round selection Bernard Pierce.

The Baltimore Sun’s Matt Vensel is picking the running back out of Temple as the biggest sleeper of the Ravens’ 2012 draft class.

“This bruising Temple running back was the seventh back selected, and while he won’t be pushing for Ray Rice’s job during training camp, he will play a large role on this team,” Vensel wrote. “Pierce is 6-foot, 220 pounds, but he plays bigger than that. He can contribute right away in short-yardage situations, and given where he was drafted, he looks to be the frontrunner to replace Ricky Williams as the No. 2, change-of-pace back.

“He is the kind of hard-nosed, physical runner that Ravens fans love and it wouldn’t be surprising if he developed into a starting-caliber back someday.”

With no intention of rubbing salt in the wounds of Terps fans, below is a highlight reel of Pierce’s five-touchdown outing in a 38-7 win over Maryland last fall.  Pierce had four of his scores midway through the second quarter and finished the day with 149 yards on 32 carries.

The pain Peirce inflicted on fans that day could be turned into sheer joy if the Ravens rookie shows the same nose for the end zone this season.

“[The video gives] anecdotal evidence as to how the Ravens might have found a between-the-tackles replacement for Ricky Williams,” wrote Vensel.

Bruschi Returned Harbs’ Call, Says ‘We’re All Good’

In a clarifying statement regarding comments made on 98 Rock about people’s perception of the New England Patriots’ championships, Head Coach John Harbaugh mentioned that he reached out to Bill Belichick and Tedy Bruschi.

Harbaugh wanted to make it clear that he believes the future Hall of Fame coach, the All-Pro linebacker and the rest of the organization earned their championship rings.

In the video below, Brushci, now an ESPN analyst, said he got Harbaugh’s voicemail and respects his clarifying statements. Bruschi then returned Harbaugh’s phone call and also left a voicemail.

“I respect that [call] Coach Harbaugh, we’re good,” Bruschi said. Adding again later, “There’s mutual respect, it’s all good.”

Harbaugh added he felt there was some distortion in what was said on the radio program, and several journalists tweeted the same belief.

WBAL’s Gerry Sandusky: “John Harbaugh has rocked social media with some basic, common sense answers in a 98 Rock [interview] about Saints & Patriots. The Harbaugh twitter storm shows how quickly an interview can get refocused in social media. He was talking about doing things the right way. On Twitter it looks like Harbaugh set out to bash the Saints and Patriots. I don’t think that’s the case. Unfortunately, a lot of people now only think 140 characters at a time and don’t read or listen to the full interview. It’s a powerful lesson in the evolution of media.”

NFL Network’s Albert Breer: Uproar over Harbaugh comments on NE is why NFL people don’t say anything anymore … He stated the obvious, and it’s seen as outrageous. Silly even arguing about it. Harbaugh’s point is based on undeniable fact — A lot of people believe NE dynasty was tarnished by cheating. Whether it actually IS tarnished is a matter of opinion. But can’t deny a lot of people feel that way. Which was basis of JH’s point.

ESPN The Magazine’s Kevin Van Valkenburg: “No one does ‘I’m so outraged and offended!’ quite like Patriots players/fans do they? How dare you comment on my unethical behavior!”

Post-Draft Power Rankings

ESPN came out with a new set of power rankings now that the draft is in the books.

Baltimore came in at No. 4, trailing the Giants at No. 1, followed by the Patriots and Packers. The Ravens moved up one spot from the last power rankings list, published after the first wave of free agency in late-March.

“John Harbaugh is smiling because his Ravens moved ahead of his brother’s 49ers team,” wrote ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “The Ravens had a solid draft and addressed some holes in the starting lineup, which boosted them one spot. Only the two Super Bowl teams (Giants and Patriots) and the Packers are ahead of the Ravens. It’s hard to argue this ranking.”

All of the Ravens’ AFC North rivals trailed Baltimore in the rankings with the Steelers at No. 8, the Bengals at No. 16 and the Browns at No. 30.

McKinnie To Continue As LT in 2012?

With the drafting of tackle/guard Kelechi Osemele in the second round last weekend, combined with Michael Oher’s ability to play left tackle and Bryant McKinnie’s conditioning struggles, ESPN’s Tim Kavanagh wonders if McKinnie’s job is in “peril.”

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron told reporters last weekend that McKinnie is participating in some of the offseason camps and organized team activities.

“He’s been in and out of town. I haven’t seen him a lot,” said Cameron. “All things are positive. We’re going to get him back and ready to go. It will be nice to have him this offseason.”

If for some reason McKinnie isn’t ready, Kavanagh could see a scenario with Oher, Jah Reid, Matt Birk, Marshal Yanda and Osemele manning the front line from left to right.

But all indications are that McKinnie will return as the left tackle, as Oher told yesterday.

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