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Late for Work 9/14: J.K. Dobbins Discusses Extent of Knee Injury, Desire to Play Sunday

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

J.K. Dobbins Discusses Extent of Knee Injury, Desire to Play This Sunday

J.K. Dobbins is hoping to do something this Sunday that he has never done before: play in front of a full M&T Bank Stadium.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, seven of the eight games played in Baltimore during Dobbins' rookie season in 2020 had no fans in attendance, and the other home game had less than 5,000 fans. Then the running back missed all of last season after suffering a devastating knee injury in the Ravens' final preseason game.

It remains to be seen whether Dobbins will make his much-anticipated return to the field in Sunday's home opener against the Miami Dolphins, but he made it clear in his first interview since the injury that he's chomping at the bit to do so.

"It'll mean the world to me if I can go out there this Sunday and play well in front of a full house, because I haven't done that yet," Dobbins told WJZ's Mark Viviano and former Raven Torrey Smith last night during the taping of "Purple Playbook" at Jimmy's Famous Seafood in Dundalk.

"I haven't played in front of a full stadium in Baltimore, and I hope I get to. So it'll mean the world to me just to carry on the tradition of players like [Smith] and guys that have come before me like Jamal Lewis and things like that. So it'll be great."

Dobbins also talked about the extent of his injury.

"This injury has been tough. It wasn't just a regular ACL. It was pretty bad," he said. "It was ACL, LCL, hamstring, meniscus. So it was tough to get back to where I am right now."

Dobbins will be part of the "Purple Playbook" show with Viviano and Smith throughout the season. The show airs on Saturdays at 11:35 p.m. on WJZ.

Fox Sports Analyst Concerned About Ravens' Running Game

Dobbins' return – as well as the return of fellow running back Gus Edwards, who will miss at least three more games as he continues to rehab after last year's season-ending ACL tear – will certainly be a welcome sight. As has been well-documented, the Ravens' running game struggled in the season-opening win over the New York Jets, finishing with just 63 yards on 3.0 yards per carry.

However, Fox Sports' Warren Sharp has concerns about the Ravens' ground game that go beyond which running backs are carrying the ball, citing the loss of left tackle Ja'Wuan James for the season and All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley still not being ready to return.

"Their offensive line was allowing penetration, on average, a half a yard into the backfield to hit these running backs before they could even make it to the line of scrimmage," Sharp said. "Now over the second half [the] numbers improved slightly, but they still finished with the third-worst efficiency of any running backs corps in the NFL last week."

Sharp added that the lack of a running game contributed to a lack of efficiency in the passing game.

"[Lamar Jackson] averaged the longest air yards of any quarterback in the NFL and threw three touchdowns, but a lot of these passes were not that efficient," Sharp said. "He only had 17 completions on the day. He ranked 22nd in success rate, meaning that, yes, he did deliver some high EPA when he was connecting on some of these deep passes, but the general efficiency and being able to stay on schedule was just not there for the Ravens' passing attack without any running back support."

This Sunday, the Ravens face a Dolphins defense that limited the New England Patriots to 78 yards rushing and 3.5 yards per carry in Miami's 20-7 win last Sunday.

Devin Duvernay Named Pro Football Network's Breakthrough Player of the Week

Much of the talk this offseason about the Ravens' young wide receivers focused on Rashod Bateman and the expectation that he will make a big leap in Year 2. Bateman caught a 55-yard touchdown pass and led the team in receiving yards in the season opener, but it was third-year wide receiver Devin Duvernay who made the biggest impression.

Duvernay, who caught two touchdown passes (doubling his career total) and all four of his targets, was named Breakthrough Player of the Week by Pro Football Network’s Adam H. Beasley.

"Mark Andrews will always be Lamar Jackson's top target. And the expectation is Bateman will be more involved than he was Sunday. But with just James Proche II, Demarcus Robinson, and Tylan Wallace behind him, the path is cleared for Duvernay to have a very large role for a team poised to make a playoff run," Beasley wrote.

Russell Street Report’s Adam Bonaccorsi also believes Duvernay, an All-Pro punt returner last season, is just scratching the surface as a pass-catcher.

"On Sunday, the Ravens fan base got a chance to see what many of us witnessed at camp, and what a month's worth of camp reports confirmed: Duvernay is a baller," Bonaccorsi wrote. "My few opportunities to watch 'Duv' at camp left me impressed, seeing noticeable improvement in his route running, ability to create separation, and usage downfield … all things that showed up on Sunday."

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