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J.K. Dobbins: 'Put It on Me and Let's Go'

RB J.K. Dobbins
RB J.K. Dobbins

Super Bowl LV is just about two weeks old, but J.K. Dobbins is back to training in South Florida.

Dobbins said he generally doesn't like to rest, and he's not going to this offseason – not with aspirations of being one of the NFL's top running backs, Super Bowl dreams and an expanding role on the horizon.

With the release of veteran Mark Ingram II, the Ravens have clearly signaled that Dobbins will be a featured piece of their run-heavy offense moving forward.

"The team is looking at me. The coaches are looking at me. I love that. Put it on me and let's go," Dobbins said on “The Lounge” podcast. "That's how I see this offseason and that's how I'm attacking it. My teammates and coaches are putting trust in me, so I can't let them down."

The rising sophomore proved he's ready for a bigger role with a record-setting rookie season in which he scored nine touchdowns – two more than any other rookie in franchise history.

Dobbins led all NFL running backs in yards per carry (6.0 yards). The Browns' Nick Chubb (5.6), Packers' Aaron Jones (5.5), Titans' Derrick Henry (5.4) and Eagles' Miles Sanders (5.3) rounded out the top five. Dobbins' teammate, Lamar Jackson, led all ball-carriers with 6.3 yards per carry.

The only thing stopping Dobbins from having a bigger statistical season was opportunities. With Jackson, Gus Edwards and Ingram surrounding him, Dobbins finished 35th in the league in carries. He didn't have double-digit carries in a single game until Week 8.

Dobbins said the toughest part of his rookie season was being patient. He's not accustomed to having to wait for his opportunity to break out. He was a starter as a freshman at Ohio State and rumbled for 1,403 yards. As a junior, he topped 2,000 rushing yards and scored 23 touchdowns.

"I want that weight on my shoulders," Dobbins said. "In clutch time, I want my teammates to look at me and be like, 'We want him touching the ball. We want him alongside of us in clutch time.' I thrive on things like that. I pride myself on being a playmaker. I didn't get to show that this year. Hopefully I can share that with the whole world."

Dobbins gave the world a sneak peek down the stretch. He scored a touchdown in six straight games to close out the regular season, capped by a massive Week 17 showing when he had 160 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. He scored again in the playoff win in Tennessee.

But when asked how he would evaluate his rookie NFL season, Dobbins said "it was OK."

"I have higher standards for myself," Dobbins said. "We didn't win a Super Bowl. That's what I wanted. I'm working as hard as I can to do my part and get us into the Super Bowl."

The playoff loss in Buffalo still stings for Dobbins, who was one of many Ravens who had a tough night. Dobbins posted 93 total yards of offense, but he had a costly third-down drop on the Ravens' second drive of the game and missed a key block on what should have been a touchdown pass. Instead, Jackson threw his devastating pick-six on the next play. Dobbins had another drop in the red zone late in the fourth quarter.

At the end of the game, after the clock had hit all zeroes, fullback Patrick Ricard saw Dobbins sitting on the bench by himself with his head down.

"I go over to him and I'm like, 'Hey, man. Listen, you had a phenomenal year. Your rookie year was amazing. You're going to have a great career,'" Ricard said. "'Let this hurt. This is supposed to hurt. Just work your butt off this offseason and get better.'"

That is Dobbins's plan this offseason. He said he still talks to Ingram nearly every day, and he knows the veteran is rooting for him to be one of the playmakers that pushes the Ravens over the playoff hump.

"[The playoff loss] motivates me a lot because I could have done some things to help the team win, but I didn't do them," Dobbins said. "We lost the game and I don't like losing. That's motivation alone. I'm working on everything. I'm going to come back and those problems will be fixed.

"I want to win a Super Bowl and be one of the best in the NFL. That's my long-term goal."

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