Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins is now out for the season after suffering an ACL tear in the team’s final preseason game.
Dobbins serves as another example of how costly it can be to play guys when the games don’t matter.
Dobbins was set to be Baltimore’s featured back. He is explosive, powerful, and shifty, and could have made a huge impact this season in a system that is as creative as it comes in its run-blocking schemes.
Hopefully Dobbins will recover and be ready for next season. In the meantime, at least, the Ravens will now have to rely on Gus Edwards and Ty Williams.
Edwards, fortunately, is in the conversation for one of the best backup running backs in the league. He signed a two-year, $10 million extension with the Ravens this offseason.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Edwards is one of two players in NFL history to record at least 700 yards rushing and average at least 5 yards per carry in the first three seasons of his career. The other is Browns’ two-time Pro Bowler Nick Chubb.
The Ravens won’t have a problem getting consistent yards in their running game, but what they’ll likely miss in Dobbins is a runner who can turn a five-yard gain into a 30-yard gain at any moment.
Dobbins averaged 6.0 yards per carry, the second-highest average by a rookie running back over the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Only Saints star Alvin Kamara has bested that total, notching 6.1 yards as a rookie in New Orleans.
For the Ravens, the main question now becomes how Dobbins’ injury will impact quarterback Lamar Jackson. Will more pressure be put on the young star to be an explosive option in the run game with the absence of Dobbins?
As long as the Ravens don’t overreact to Dobbins’ injury, they should be fine. They can use a running-back-by-committee method to get the job done, like they have in years past, and still come out as one of the best teams in the AFC.