Justin Forsett's role in Baltimore Ravens' passing game should expand

Justin Forsett could see a rise in the number of his catches this season under new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett was asked if the team's running scheme had changed under new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.

"No, not at all," said Forsett, the fifth-leading rusher in the league last season. "It's basically the same stuff, same terminology in the run game. So, smooth transition."

Forsett's role, though, should be different. In Trestman's offense, running backs historically have had almost as much impact in the passing attack as the ground game.

There's a chance that Forsett's reception total of 44 last season could possibly double this season. At last week's organized team activity, Forsett was catching a handful of screen passes. On Wednesday, he was pulling in passes over the middle and in the flats.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said there has never been any talk of whether running backs will get increased chances as receivers and indicated that they've always been involved in the passing game whether it's checkdowns or play-action passes.

"That will be a part of what we're doing," Harbaugh said. "It'll be a big part of it."

One of the mainstays of Trestman's offense is getting the ball to his running backs in space. There have been seven instances where a running back has caught at least 69 passes in a season under Trestman: San Francisco's Derek Loville, Arizona's Larry Centers and Michael Pittman, Oakland's Charlie Garner (twice) and Chicago's Matt Forte (twice).

In Trestman's two seasons in Chicago, Forte caught a total of 176 passes, which were 48 more than any other running back in the NFL.

"I'm excited about that -- being used more, going out wide or catching passes out of the backfield," Forsett said. "With Coach Trestman coming in, a lot of backs have had a lot of passes. Even in OTAs, I've been catching a lot of balls, so I make sure I am sharp on my routes and ready to be used that way as well."

Forsett didn't spend time this offseason preparing to catch more passes. He believes that was already one of his strengths.

"That's how I got my start was being the third-down guy, picking up blitzes, running routes out of the backfield, screens and things like that," said Forsett, who caught 97 passes in three seasons in Seattle. "So, I'm ready for it."