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Mailbag: What's Up With the Running Back Rotation?


Mink: Let's start with the fact that the Ravens running backs have run the ball well. Mark Ingram II is averaging a solid 4.4 yards per carry, which is very close to his 4.6-yard career average. Gus Edwards is third in the league at 6.2 yards per carry. J.K. Dobbins is averaging 6.1 per tote. So what's the problem here other than that your fantasy team probably doesn't like the split duties?

Very few teams have a true "workhorse" running back these days. It just doesn't leave everybody as fresh. I do think the Ravens will ride a hot hand within a game, but they're going to go into every contest looking to spread the carries and I don't expect that to change.

I do think there's an argument for Edwards deserving a slightly larger share of the pie considering how effectively he's running, but I also agree with Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman's assessment that he's very valuable as the "closer" coming in to punish weakened and tired teams. And I do think Dobbins' role will continue to grow as the rookie gets more established. I still like what I see every time he gets the ball in his hands.

Downing: There's no question that Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews are the team's top two receiving threats, and that the passing game will go through them in most weeks. But I do expect the Ravens to continue to incorporate rookie wide receivers Devin Duvernay and James Proche III into the mix a little more each week. Roman and Head Coach John Harbaugh have both said the rookie wideouts are deserving of a little more action, and Duvernay saw an uptick in his offensive snap count against Washington. He played a career-high 15 offensive snaps, compared to just seven the previous week. Duvernay has shown his playmaking ability – he has that 93-yard kickoff return touchdown against Kansas City – and he might be the fastest player on the team. The Ravens can use him as a slot receiver, or in some creative packages where he's in motion out of the backfield. Duvernay has been solid in his limited work, and I expect that role to continue growing each week.

Mink: My A.J. Green nightmares haven't started yet this week, though it's probably only a matter of time. But I don't think they'll be as vivid as in years past.

Green didn't play at all last year due to injuries and he isn't off to a strong start this season. He has just 14 catches on 33 targets for 119 yards and zero touchdowns. Despite being one of the game's best over the past decade, Green isn't the most productive wideout on his own team right now. That goes to Tyler Boyd (320 yards), and rookie Tee Higgins is also a threat.

The last time Green faced the Ravens was in September of 2018 when he had three touchdowns on Thursday Night Football. I can still picture a couple of those scores. So you never know. But Green's days of tormenting the Ravens have been few and far between and I think Baltimore's cornerback situation has drastically improved.

Downing: Hitting the deep passing game is a challenge for any offense, but I do think the Ravens have the pieces to make it happen. Brown had 86 receiving yards on a season-high eight targets last week, and he seems to be heating up a bit. Brown and quarterback Lamar Jackson haven't quite been able to connect on the deep shots this season, but he said after the game that the Ravens are "going to start to hit" on those big plays. Getting Duvernay in the mix could also help in this category. He has the speed and big-play potential, and bringing him into the fold could help take some of the attention off Brown.

Mink: It's going to be impossible to top the Ravens' 2018 class featuring Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown Jr. and Bradley Bozeman, but this year's class is off to a strong start. Patrick Queen is flying around the field making plays and was particularly impressive against Washington. Dobbins looks dynamic every chance he gets. Duvernay had the huge kickoff return touchdown against the Chiefs and has been good as a wideout whenever thrown to. Malik Harrison is playing well. Tyre Phillips is starting at right guard and holding his own. Broderick Washington is in the mix and James Proche has been a solid punt returner.

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