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Ravens mail: Is Bernard Pierce the starter?

It's time to click open the second part of our Baltimore Ravens' Twitter mailbag ...

@jamisonhensley: Bernard Pierce is going to get a bulk of the touches this season, which isn't a surprise. I still feel Justin Forsett earned the right to start Thursday night's game after his 70-yard rushing performance in the season opener. But, as I wrote last week, Pierce was going to receive the bulk of the work after the team released Rice. He has more size than Forsett, and he has more experience than rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he will go with the hotter running back, and Forsett could end up with more touches in certain games because of that. Still, if you're projecting for the entire season, Pierce will end up with the most carries (barring injury, of course). He has started the first two games, and he will remain in that role for the rest of the season.



@jamisonhensley: Not likely. Asante Samuel hasn't drawn much interest since getting cut by the Atlanta Falcons in February. That means he's either wanting too much money or teams think he's done. Either way, the odds aren't good that Samuel is going to be in the Ravens' secondary. It would be a sign of desperation if the Ravens signed a 33-year-old cornerback who hasn't stepped onto a field since last season. The Ravens do have their issues at cornerback right now. Lardarius Webb missed the first two games because of a back injury, and Asa Jackson, the team's No. 3 CB, suffered a concussion. But there's a chance Webb and Jackson will be available Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.



@jamisonhensley: The Ravens historically don't give rookie running backs a lot of playing time early in the season. They brought Jamal Lewis and Ray Rice along slowly, and rookie fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro isn't on the same level as those two runners. Plus, there hasn't been much opportunity for Taliaferro to get into the game. The Ravens weren't going to take the ball away from Justin Forsett in the season opener based on how he was running, and they were set Thursday night with Forsett and Bernard Pierce. I do think Taliaferro should have a role because of his size and straight-ahead running style. He could be an asset on short yardage and around the goal line. If he gets carries, those are the situations where the Ravens should use Taliaferro.



@jamisonhensley: Not really. Pierce should've had more urgency before Rice was released. Under Rice's original two-game suspension, Pierce only had a short window to show why he should be the Ravens' featured back this season. If Pierce had strong performances in the first two games, there were no guarantees the Ravens were going to go back to Rice as their No. 1 back. The incentive for Pierce now is to show he can be the Ravens' top back for the future. Over the next 14 games, Pierce has to convince the Ravens that they don't need to use one of their top three picks in the 2015 draft on a running back.