There was a point before Friday's preseason game against the Steelers when I predicted Bernard Pierce to have an impressive performance.
Getting shifted up in the rotation due to T.J. Yeldon's injury would certainly allow Pierce to see more playing time in the second and third quarter, which I thought might give him an opportunity to flash. In training camp, Pierce has floodlit himself -- not so much due to his productivity, but his consistency.
Pierce is a veteran running back that projects the game of a player beyond 4 years in the league. He hasn't blown the doors off of training camp practices, but he has impressed coaches with his ability to break off respectable chunks of yards and, more importantly, do it on a consistent basis.
Needless to say, when I pictured Pierce impressing fans and coaches on Saturday, I didn't think it would be due to something like this:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="pt" dir="ltr">Duval! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PITvsJAX?src=hash">#PITvsJAX</a> <a href="http://t.co/GiLN74y6rZ">pic.twitter.com/GiLN74y6rZ</a></p>— NFL (@NFL) <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL/status/632393392861790209">August 15, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Frankly, a player like Pierce is going to have a hard time rising to the surface in a flooded group of running backs. T.J. Yeldon, Denard Robinson, and Toby Gerhart all sit in front of Bernard Pierce on the depth chart, and rightfully so.
Since 2013, Pierce has had a run in with the law and found himself placed downstairs on the Jacksonville depth chart. Still, Pierce sits in front of Storm Johnson and Corey Grant, and chances are minimal that Pierce loses his gig to one of these young guns.
As preseason continues to unravel, I fully expect Pierce to open a few more eyes. He might not hurdle any more 5'11 cornerbacks, but he could just snatch the attention of coaches and fans.
And that's a lot more valuable.