CLEVELAND -- No one expected the running back position to be one of the deepest on the Baltimore Ravens after the team parted ways with Ray Rice. But you could make that argument right now.
Three games into the season, the Ravens have watched three running backs not only lead the team in rushing but gain at least 70 yards in a game. The latest surprise came in Sunday's 23-21 win over the Cleveland Browns, where rookie fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro ran for 91 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.
The Ravens' situation at running back will become more complicated if Bernard Pierce can return next week after sitting out Sunday with a thigh injury. But this is really a good problem to have from the Ravens' standpoint.
Sure, trying to figure out the Ravens' featured back each week is a nightmare for fantasy owners. As far as the Ravens' needs, this has been the best-case scenario because all three running backs have been so productive.
The Ravens now have confidence that Pierce, Taliaferro or Justin Forsett can carry the load when called upon. They've seen it against the Bengals, Steelers and Browns.
In all likelihood, Pierce remains the Ravens' starter when he returns. But that doesn't mean he finishes the game for the Ravens.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh previously said he will go with the hotter back. And the hottest back on the field Sunday was Taliaferro. It makes you wonder why he didn't get a touch in the first two games.
"I think the results speak for themselves with Lorenzo," Harbaugh said. "He was running downhill, physical and was hard to tackle. That is an element that is a big plus for an offense."
The odds of the Ravens starting Taliaferro next week are not strong. The Ravens' history is not to put too much pressure on rookie running backs, although it's tempting to go with Taliaferro based on his decisiveness and ability to finish off runs.
A major reason why the Ravens will probably keep Pierce as the starter is he's bigger than Forsett and has more experience than Taliaferro. The downside is Pierce's injury-filled track record.
Harbaugh said he hopes Pierce's thigh injury is a short-term one.
"We thought we'd get him into the game, but it didn't work out," Harbaugh said. "We should have a good chance of getting him back next week."