Can Baltimore Ravens really trust Michael Pierce in 2023?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens will be relying on Michael Pierce to give them a valuable season in 2023 if the defense can hit its peak. The question is whether Pierce can bring that. It is easy to say that when Pierce was healthy and in his prime that this was a possibility, but those days are not the same as these days.

Can Baltimore Ravens really trust Michael Pierce in 2023?

These days Pierce is going to be 31 years old, and he has hardly seen the field since the pandemic. If you recall Pierce left the Ravens for the Vikings in 2020. Then, the pandemic came, and Pierce was one of the players who opted out of the season. Unfortunately, he has not gotten back to his ability since then.

In 2021, he started eight games but missed the second half of the season with an elbow injury. In 2022, it was a biceps injury that ended his year, and this time it came just three weeks into the season.

When all is said and done Pierce will have played just 340 snaps in the past three seasons. What hurts the most is that these are his ages 28 through 30 years, which for most players are prime years, and the years when players like Pierce can make themselves long-standing players. To miss that time is going to crush his career, and already has.

Historically, you cannot find a player who missed that much time from ages 28 through 30 and then went on to remain healthy in their age 31 seasons. Beyond that, even healthy players start to push it when they get to age 31.

According to Pro Football Reference, there has been 38 nose tackles with Approximate Value over five during their age 30 seasons only. For comparison, Pierec had an AV of seven when he was 27 years old, so even getting back to five would be fine. However, at age 31 that number drops from 38 to 31, and then at age 32, onlu 19 nose tackles were able to keep up that style of play.

So, for most players like Pierce, age 31 is often the peak. The issue for Pierce is that he is 31 years old now and has not played much in the past three seasons. Typically, players like him do not even hit that milestone at 31, and even if Pierce did, it would be on his last legs.

The Baltimore Ravens need a strong season from Michael Pierce and they have to hope that despite a history of age and injuries pointing to him hitting the cliff of his career, he can provide one more season. More than that, they need to see the slow change of roles between Pierce and Travis Jones this season.

5 reasons to be excited about the Baltimore Ravens. 5 reasons to be excited about the Baltimore Ravens. dark. Next

Early in training camp and even into the season the team can lean on Pierce, but they have to see Travis Jones pass him up by the end of the season. If they do not get that out of Jones, they are probably heading into year three thinking he is nothing more than depth. If Travis Jones can take that step forward, it would be perfect timing for him and Pierce to swap roles.