The Ravens suddenly have a very crowded backfield.
Veteran Danny Woodhead (hamstring) and former starter Terrance West (calf) could both return Sunday after missing an extended period with injuries, and Baltimore’s running back rotation is a bit murky right now.
But Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg indicated Thursday that Alex Collins will continue to get a heavy dose of the workload even when Woodhead and West return to game action.
“Certainly, he’ll be a featured guy,” Mornhinweg said about Collins.
Collins, who the Ravens initially signed to the practice squad in Week 2, took over the starting job in Week 6 after West went down. Collins has shown to be the team’s most dynamic running back and currently ranks 13th in the NFL with 521 rushing yards. His 5.6 yards per carry rank first in the league.
Collins could actually be in line for an increased workload in some respects.
He and Javorius Allen have mostly split the carries over the last few weeks, with Allen more often getting the nod in passing situations. Allen is a strong pass blocker and better receiving threat – Collins has just three catches this year – but the Ravens have seen Collins make strides in that area in recent weeks.
“He’s getting better at the details, as well, so we can utilize him in more ways,” Mornhinweg said.
While Collins will continue as the featured ball carrier, it’s up in the air how the Ravens will divide the snaps among the other running backs when West and Woodead return.
Allen actually leads the team in carries (106) and receptions (39), but Woodhead’s greatest attribute is his ability to catch passes out of the backfield and the Ravens expect him to provide a spark to the passing game. He has to get moved to the 53-man roster by 4 p.m. Saturday to play this week against the Green Bay Packers.
West opened the year as a starter, and has 138 rushing yards and averages 3.5 yards per carry. He’s a downhill runner with a nose for the end zone, and he still leads the team with two rushing scores.
All of the backs bring something a little different, and the Ravens see the tough decisions about how to split up the snaps as a good problem to have.
“Everybody we can get back will certainly help us,” Mornhinweg said.