Will Bernard Scott make his Ravens debut this week? And could he add a jolt to the Ravens' dormant running game?
The Ravens signed Scott, the former Cincinnati Bengal, two weeks ago, but he has been inactive in each of his first two games with his new team.
On Monday, coach John Harbaugh implied that Ray Rice still isn't 100 percent because of his hip flexor injury, and said that Scott has "progressed very well and could be active in the coming weeks."
Scott isn't expected to be any quick fix for a Ravens offense that ranks dead last in yards per carry (2.8) and 30th in rushing yards per game (73.1). But if Rice remains hobbled and ineffective, it would make sense for the Ravens to have a third running back activated for the 46-man game-day roster.
"We (would) just have to make a decision to activate three runners and balance that with other needs," Harbaugh said. "Who would be the other person deactivated? That would be a decision that we’d have to make."
Harbaugh said on Monday that Rice's hip flexor injury "has been a factor, no doubt about it. He’s working hard to become healthier. ... That’s a muscle injury, and it’s hard to predict exactly what impact that has, but you’ve got to assume it’s had an impact.”
Rice, who has had four straight 1,000-yard seasons, has 289 yards this year on 115 carries, an average of 2.5 yards a run. He is on pace for about 514 yards this season and has not had a run longer than 14 yards. He missed the Week 3 game against Houston, but even after a full week of rest during the bye week, he has shown none of the explosion or elusiveness that has defined his career.
Rice has topped 50 yards rushing only once this season, and that came on 27 carries (for 74 yards) at Miami.
Rice's backup, Bernard Pierce, has fared little better, averaging 2.8 yards on 93 carrries, and he has been bothered at times by a hamstring injury. And both backs have struggled to run behind a disappointing offensive line that has struggled to pick up Juan Castillo's new schemes.
Scott's 2012 season was cut short by an ACL injury, and he was cut by the Bengals this September. In his career, Scott has rushed 255 times for 1,035 yards (4.1 avg.) and four touchdowns.
After cutting Bobby Rainey in the final cutdown, the Ravens broke camp with just two running backs (not counting fullbacks Vonta Leach and Kyle Juszczyk). They added former Chiefs back Shaun Draughn as a No. 3 back early in the season, as he offered return help as well with Jacoby Jones sidelined. With the Ravens, Draughn ran the ball only four times for 2 yards, and he was released after Week 5.