Skip to main content

Mailbag: Will Ravens Continue Their Running Back By Committee?


Mink: It's hard to complain about the Ravens' running back rotation after they just ran for 294 yards against the Cowboys. Sure, Dallas has the NFL's worst run defense this year, but that's still quite a feat regardless of who it comes against. So whatever the Ravens did last week, it worked.

J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards shined against the Cowboys (who knew the Gus Bus had such good handling?!) and have stood out in recent weeks, including when Mark Ingram II was sidelined. Dobbins is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and Edwards is at 4.8, including a whopping 14.4 versus the Cowboys.

There has been a change in how carries are split. Dobbins has led the trio in rushing attempts in the past two games when the trio has been on the field (excluding the Steelers game) and I expect that to continue. The rookie has major juice and looks fresh. He's going to be a star in this league.

With all that said, the Ravens will continue to rotate their backs. Dobbins has emerged as the reps leader, as I think he should, but he's not going to be a bell-cow back who dominates touches. Rotating the backs keeps everyone fresh. Edwards clearly deserves reps and brings a different element. Ingram also deserves reps because he's a very good all-around back and will make plays. Heck, even Justice Hill looked good against the Steelers and could get a few snaps here and there.

Downing: It's no secret that this season hasn't gone the way that second-year receiver Miles Boykin would have liked. He has only 15 catches for 191 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and he'd gone three-straight games without a catch or a target before the 38-yard touchdown against Dallas. He could have caught another touchdown later in the game, but quarterback Lamar Jackson missed him in the back of the end zone.

It was a step in the right direction for Boykin, and the Ravens could certainly use more plays like that from Boykin. In terms of moving forward, the Ravens are expected to get wide receiver Willie Snead IV and tight end Mark Andrews back in the lineup, and that will limit some of the opportunities for Boykin. The other factor is what kind of role the Ravens envision for veteran Dez Bryant once he's able to return. Bryant has carved out a role for himself after initially signing to the practice squad midway through the year, and he could cut into Boykin's snaps once he's back in the mix.

Mink: Yes, getting the Ravens' passing game going would obviously be a great thing. But at this point of the season, with the weather turning cold, I think Baltimore will rely more on the ground game to set up the passing attack than vice versa. We're entering Week 14 and seeing a lot of the same issues in the passing game that we've seen all season. Lamar Jackson is heating up, but I don't expect the Ravens to all-of-a-sudden get the aerial attack firing on all cylinders. It can still be very effective, however, if Baltimore can continue to punish opponents on the ground.

Downing: First of all, I don't think it's fair to measure anyone's leadership style to Ray Lewis. He was one of the best, and most unique, leaders to ever play in the NFL. His ability to motivate a team and fire up a stadium was second-to-none. I don't expect Jackson to start breaking out the squirrel dance during pre-game introductions.

However, it has been interesting to see Jackson's leadership evolve, which happens naturally for a young player. He's someone who is clearly respected by his teammates and coaches, and he's gradually become more vocal over the last three years. He even gave the pre-game hype speech for a game this year, which came at the urging of teammates. Jackson understands his role as the franchise quarterback, and knows that his voice carries weight. He picks his spots to voice his thoughts and opinions, but those spots have increased over time. So Jackson will always have a different leadership style from Lewis, but he's developing into a strong leader in his own way.

Related Content