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Gus Edwards, Ravens Confident They Can Roll Without J.K. Dobbins

RB Gus Edwards
RB Gus Edwards

The Ravens were hoping they wouldn't have to bust out the "next man up" cliché so early in the season, but here we are.

With J.K. Dobbins (Achilles) done for the year and safety Marcus Williams (pec), tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) and center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle) all dealing with injuries, the Ravens are going to be short-handed once again.

But you won't be hearing excuses or whining from the Under Armour Performance Center as they prepare for a big-time divisional game in Cincinnati this Sunday. After all, the Ravens are used to this routine. And with a roster loaded with talent, there are other players eager for their opportunity.

Count running back Gus Edwards among them, as he and fellow running back Justice Hill will step into the void left by Dobbins' absence – the only confirmed season-ending injury.

Edwards said, "the game can be unfair at times" and expressed how bad he felt for Dobbins, but Edwards has to turn the page quickly.

"That's what we get paid to do. Next man up mentality," Edwards said. "We have families to feed.

"We make plays. I guess I bring a physical aspect. Justice is more of a speed, agility guy. I'm excited for him too because I know he's primed to have a good year. He's been working his tail off too. So I'm excited for him to see what he does."

Edwards has averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry all four seasons he's been on the field. He's felt he can be a lead back ever since he led Baltimore's running back room down the stretch in 2018 as an undrafted rookie.

Edwards and the Ravens run game didn't get off to a great start in Week 1 against the Texans, as Edwards had eight carries for 32 yards and Hill had eight for nine yards, and two touchdowns. They'll look to turn it up against the Bengals.

"We don't have J.K. That's disappointing. He's a great player. He's a great guy. Obviously, any time you lose a player like that on your roster, that's a big deal. He's an explosive athlete and ball carrier and receiver," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"But I am very confident in the guys we have stepping in there as well. We have very good players stepping in, and they're excited for their opportunity."

Geno Stone, Kyle Hamilton Leaning on 'Call of Duty' Communication

Marcus Williams had taken on a bigger share of the back-end communication in the Ravens secondary, so with him sidelined by a pec injury, the onus falls to new starting duo Kyle Hamilton and Geno Stone.

They're not too worried about not being on the same page.

"We all probably play too much videos games together – a lot of Call of Duty," Hamilton said. "We go through some arguments on the game, so we can definitely handle each other out here."

Stone was pressed into action last season when Williams suffered a fractured wrist. Stone started seven games, made a career-high 38 tackles, and one forced fumble. The fourth-year safety feels ready to go.

"Communication goes a long way for me and Kyle," Stone said. "Having the experience from last year and the year before that too, [I know how to] just go out there and do my job. But this year I want to be more productive – hopefully get more picks and stuff to help my team. But [it's about] being in the right situation, communicate, making sure Kyle is in the right spots."

The Bengals were hammered by the Browns in a 24-3 loss in Week 1, in which Joe Burrow threw for just 82 yards and star receiver Ja'Marr Chase caught five passes for 39 yards. But the Ravens know better than to take the Bengals lightly.

"I know what type of team they are," Stone said. "No matter what type of game they had last week, it's a division foe. They're going to bring everything they've got. I know how talented they are over there.

You want to treat guys everyone the same, but they've got special guys over there, a special quarterback who got paid all that money for a reason. We've got to be on top of our game."

Harbaugh said they are "still working through the dynamics" of whether Williams will have surgery on his pectoral injury.

Lamar Jackson Is Working on His Center Exchange

One thing Lamar Jackson will be paying extra attention to this week is his exchange with Mustipher, who could be his center Sunday in Cincinnati.

That connection is how every single offensive play will begin and the Ravens can't afford any hiccups.

"It starts in practice – getting extra reps, getting extra snaps," Jackson said. "We're going to find a way to make it happen. That's the job."

Ravens Add Practice Squad Guard Kyle Fuller

The Ravens added veteran guard/center Kyle Fuller to their practice squad Wednesday, another indication that Mustipher could be elevated to the 53-man roster or at least called up for Sunday's game.

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