Gus Edwards is preparing to make the most of his carries.
When the Ravens drafted running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round, it made their talented backfield even deeper. Baltimore has four running backs capable of being featured in their offense – Mark Ingram II, Justice Hill, Edwards and Dobbins, along with the NFL's best running quarterback in Lamar Jackson.
Is this a problem, having four backs and a quarterback capable of having a 100-yard day on any given Sunday? Edwards doesn't think so. The Ravens ran the ball more than any other team in 2019 and set the NFL team record for most rushing yards in a season. That's a tough act to follow, but with the addition of Dobbins, Edwards thinks Baltimore's running attack can be even better than last season.
Edwards expected Dobbins to be drafted earlier than he was after rushing for 2,003 yards as a junior at Ohio State. When Dobbins was still available with the 55th pick in the draft, he didn't blame the Ravens for taking him.
"I was surprised because I thought he was like the best back in the class," Edwards said during a Wednesday video conference call. "We definitely got better. It's going to be difficult to do better than what we did last year, breaking the rushing record. But I think it's a step forward. It's a definite step towards that because he's a great back. He's going to make the competition that much better at running back."
Edwards has already proven he's capable of handling a heavy workload if necessary. After making the team as an undrafted rookie in 2018, Edwards took over as the starting running back in Week 11 and had three 100-yard rushing games over the final seven weeks, helping the Ravens make the playoffs.
Last year as a backup behind Ingram, Edwards still rushed for 711 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. He's a powerful runner with deceptive speed who is rarely brought down by first contact. Eligible to become a restricted free agent after this season, Edwards knows the 2020 season is important for him.
"I can't say that I'm not looking forward to it," Edwards said. "It's a great opportunity that I'm in."
Edwards and Hill have quarantined together during COVID-19 and have a routine of working out together four times a week. Baltimore had the NFL's highest-scoring offense last season, but Edwards senses the Ravens are even hungrier after losing in the playoffs to Tennessee last season.
"We're bringing back a lot of guys in the offense," Edwards said. "We added more weapons. We're going to be more familiar with the system. It's just so much going for us. Lamar's going to come back better, I trust that because he's a hard worker. Everybody on the team pretty much has the right mindset. Guys want to win. I think it will make it that much easier for us. We set the standard very high last year but I have full confidence that we can build off of it."
When not working on his main occupation, Edwards has been recording music and released his first rap single, "She on Me", under the moniker "Gusto".
"I've had a lot of free time," Edwards said. "I've been hanging out with some of my friends from back home (Staten Island, N. Y.) and they rap. We've been fooling around and we made the song. I was getting good feedback from people around me about it and I decided to drop it. It's just something I've been doing to keep myself busy in quarantine."
From what he's heard this offseason, Edwards has no reason to be worried about his role in 2020. General Manager Eric DeCosta has referred to the running back situation as a 'four-headed monster." And Head Coach John Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman proved their passion for running the football last season.
As good as Baltimore's running game was in 2019, Edwards believes the Ravens can set another team record for rushing yards in 2020.
"I think Coach Roman is committed to it, it seems like Coach Harbaugh is committed to it," Edwards said. "That's the first step. We'll see where it goes. I'm excited. It's a chance to make history."