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Kenneth Dixon Is Taking His Cues From Danny Woodhead

Posted Jun 12, 2017

The second-year running back looks explosive at OTAs, but he’ll have to sit out the first four weeks after a PEDs suspension. Dixon gave his first comments since the suspension.

Second-year running back Kenneth Dixon arrives at the Under Armour Performance Center every day at 6:30 a.m. He’s joined by veteran running back Danny Woodhead.

“We lift together and sit in the sauna and talk about plays and everything,” Dixon said last week. “Danny has been a very great help to me.”

After the Ravens released veteran Justin Forsett early last season, no running back on the active roster had more than two years of NFL experience. Now with Woodhead, who is heading into his ninth season, the Ravens have not only a dynamic player on the field, but a mentor for its younger backs off it.

Dixon, who the Ravens drafted in the fourth round out of Louisiana Tech last year, rushed 88 times for 382 yards and two touchdowns. He caught 30 passes for 162 yards and one more score.

Dixon has loads of talent. He is quick, explosive and tough to bring down. According to Pro Football Focus, Dixon forced a missed tackle once every 3.4 touches. That was the best rate among all NFL running backs in 2016.

In March, he was suspended four games for breaking the league’s performance enhancing drugs policy, meaning he’ll miss the first quarter of the Ravens’ regular season.

On Thursday, Dixon spoke about the suspension publicly for the first time.

“It is going to be very difficult [to sit out], but it is just something that I have to deal with,” he said. “I have talked about it with my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, and we are ready to get past it so we can get ready for Game 5. I am working really hard to come back strong.”

Dixon also missed the first four games of last year because of a preseason knee injury, and it set his development back a bit while opening the door for Terrance West. Dixon didn’t get 10 touches in a game until Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As Dixon looks to take the next step, he’s watching how Woodhead and West handle their business.

“Kenneth is a sponge. He will do whatever you ask him to do as hard as he can,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He listens and he learns and he gets better every day by leaps and bounds.”

Harbaugh said he tells Dixon and West to watch how Woodhead runs a route and “just do it like he does it.”

“We can talk about all the coaching points we have, but pictures are worth 10,000 words,” Harbaugh said. “Watch him do it, and he will show you how to do it.”

It’s still early and there’s no hitting allowed in OTAs, but Dixon has looked very fast and elusive. He’s caught the ball well, saying Woodhead has taught him to be more patient in his routes and how to use his hands better.

“OTAs are going really well,” Dixon said. “We have the same offense, so coming back in and kind of knowing the offense, knowing how we pick up the blitz and everything and coming back in with the guys has gone really well. Plays are going very well, and I am just loving football. I love to be back.”

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