J.K. Dobbins has become the Ravens' lead back over the past several weeks, but he's not focusing on volume.
Dobbins has gotten at least 11 carries in five of his last six games, after not getting more than nine carries in any of his first six games.
The talented rookie running back has responded to his expanded role, and he had another strong game against the Cleveland Browns with 13 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown. Dobbins flattened Browns safety Andrew Sendejo on a key two-point conversion late in the game.
There has been plenty of discussion all season about the best way to divide carries among Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram II and Justice Hill. Dobbins is like any running back, he wants the ball as much as possible. But his focus is helping Ravens win, regardless of how many touches he gets.
"It's the coach's decision to give me the ball, and it's my job whenever I get the ball, I do what I need to do with it," Dobbins said. "Of course I would like to have more carries and all, but that's normal. I want to win the game. One carry, two carries, 80 carries, 50 carries, let's win this game. I don't care about all that other stuff. That's what I'm here for."
No matter who many carries Dobbins' gets, he vows to be ready. He hasn't hit the so-called rookie wall, and seems skeptical that such a thing even exists – at least for him. Dobbins is used to long high school seasons growing up in Texas and long college seasons at Ohio State. To him, the length of an NFL season doesn't feel much different.
"At Ohio State, I at least played 14 games a year," Dobbins said. "In high school (in) Texas, we have 16 weeks to go to the state championship. I've always played long seasons. I don't feel like I'm hitting the rookie wall. My body feels fine. I take care of my body. It hasn't hit me yet, I don't think. Does it look like it in my play? I don't know what the rookie wall is, so y'all have to let me know."
Lamar Has Faith in Hollywood's Hands
Lamar Jackson keeps the faith in his close friend Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, even during games when the wide receiver is struggling. That was evident Monday night, when Jackson went to Brown for a crucial 44-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter after Brown had dropped three passes earlier.
It was the third straight game in which Brown has caught a touchdown pass, and he leads the team in receiving yards (605) and is tied for the team lead with Mark Andrews in catches (43).
Brown entered the league in 2019 regarded as one of the most sure-handed wide receivers in the draft, which factored into Baltimore's decision to make him a first-round pick. In big spots, Jackson remains very confident in Brown.
"We just have hiccups sometimes," Jackson said. "We're human at the end of the day. He caught that touchdown for us and helped us seal that game. Some people probably wouldn't have went back to him. I don't know why, because he's been making tremendous catches for us all season. Just like the one last week against Dallas when he made that tremendous catch. He didn't have any drops that game.
"I wouldn't change my mind against him. It happened, a hiccup. I guess he saved his hands for the right moment."
Calais Campbell Says He's Still Not 100 Percent But Improving
Calais Campbell has played the last two games, but he missed three games while dealing with a calf injury while also being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. It was a double-whammy for Campbell, who played against the Browns despite not practicing all week. Campbell is hoping his calf gets stronger each week.
"It's a process," Campbell said. "The week before, it definitely hurt a little bit more. This week it held up a little better. I'm still making progress, I've still got some room for improvement. I feel like I was able to go out there and help the team win. I suited up and did the best I could. I definitely didn't play my best ball by any means. But I feel like I was able to affect the game and try to give a spark. It was a big game, we definitely wanted to get that W. I thought I could add some value."
Campbell said he had much more energy against Cleveland than he did during his first game back against Dallas after coming off the Reserve/COVID-list.
"That first week back, it's brutal," Campbell said. "It's an adjustment. You're not going to be yourself. You're going to feel a little weaker. You're not going to have the wind that your normally have. But the second week it was definitely a lot more progress. I felt a lot better against the Browns. I'm hoping that I continue to improve like that this next week because there were definitely some lingering effects. I feel a lot better today than I did last week at this time."
Calais Campbell: Gardner Minshew Is Very Similar to Baker Mayfield
The Jaguars are going back to Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback on Sunday. He started the first seven games before being benched, but riding a 12-game losing streak, the Jaguars are looking for a spark.
Campbell says the Ravens need to be wary of Minshew, who is often most dangerous when he extends plays by escaping the pocket.
"He's kind of very similar to Baker Mayfield," Campbell said. "He's a playmaker. He knows how to extend plays, he finds open guys. He brings a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, he's got a lot of swagger. He's a football player. That's one of those things that's kind of underappreciated. Some guys just good football players, find a way to make plays. You look at him, he doesn't really look the part, but he goes out there and makes things happen. He's a warrior. He's a competitor. I know the guys are going to be ready for a great challenge he's going to bring."