The Ravens signed or drafted players at every offense position this offseason, except one.
Baltimore decided to go with Alex Collins as the starter after his breakout 2017 campaign, and the Ravens also knew they had Buck Allen returning and Kenneth Dixon (knee) back in the fold. It’s a young group that has some questions to answer, but the Ravens have high hopes for the unit.
“We want to be one of the best groups on the team, and one of the best groups in the NFL, so we just push each other to work hard, minimize mistakes and just get the playbook down,” Collins said. “Whenever any of our names are called, we know what we’re doing, we’re in the right place at the right time and ready to make a play.”
Collins was one of the biggest surprises in the NFL last season, as he went from getting cut by Seattle after the preseason to nearly rushing for 1,000 yards in Baltimore. He finished the year with 212 carries for 973 yards and six touchdowns, and his hard-nosed running style was a bright spot of the offense.
He showed the Ravens that he’s ready to work as a featured back, and the Ravens plan to put a heavy workload on his shoulders.
“My intensity stays the same when I’m coming out there, but [an increased role] helps a lot,” Collins said. “But at the end of the day, my mindset, I’m 110 percent, and just getting opportunities and getting more plays, it makes me feel good.”
The running back group is also boosted by the return of Dixon, who missed last season with a knee injury. He showed promise during his rookie season two years ago, and looked like he might win the starting job last season.
He has plenty of potential, but he also must show he can stay on the field.
“I’m glad that he’s back and he adds a lot of depth to our running back group,” Collins said. “I didn’t get the opportunity to work with him last year, and just seeing him and his work ethic, he runs hard and he’s great out there.”
The other key player in the mix is Allen, who Head Coach John Harbaugh said is coming off his best year. Allen put up 841 yards of total offense last year, and he’s a versatile player who can also make plays in the passing game.
All three backs have a slightly different style they bring to the equation, and they figure to be a critical piece of the team’s success this year.
“Those are three really good backs,” Harbaugh said.