The Baltimore Ravens’ rushing offense over the past few seasons since drafting quarterback Lamar Jackson has been somewhat like something we’ve never seen before in the NFL. The amount of designed runs from the quarterback position is unheard of in this era.
But while Jackson is critical to their running game, they can’t just get by with anybody in the backfield. Greg Roman’s offense is built around the run game, with physicality a prerequisite at the skill positions, which is why, for example, they were willing to pay as much as they did for a blocking tight end like Nick Boyle.
The loss of J.K. Dobbins at running back, who tore his ACL, was huge, no doubt. Roman acknowledged that it does change things in some ways. But they also understand that they have Gus Edwards in the backfield, who has been quietly very productive and efficient over the course of his three-year career.
“We’ve had confidence in Gus, really, since his rookie season”, he told reporters yesterday. “I mean, he was an undrafted player that really impressed us. He made his way onto the roster in the regular season, and he’s done nothing but impress since”.
“He’s our kind of guy. He’s really built for what we do”, he continued. “He’s going to get more of a workload now, not to say that it won’t still be a committee. But Gus is definitely going to get a lot of work, and we feel great about that”.
Justice Hill and Ty’Son Williams are the other running backs who made the 53-man roster, the latter being a first-year player out of Brigham Young. He was on the practice squad a year ago, and was actually called up to participate in the COVID Bowl last year the Wednesday after Thanksgiving against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Anybody that’s in the locker room, in my mind, I factor them in”, Roman added. “If they’re in the locker room, we’re planning for them. So, all the guys – every one of them. And over the course of the long season, most likely they’ll all play”.
One area in which they will have to adapt is in the passing game. Roman’s plan was to get Dobbins more involved as a receiver this year. Neither Edwards nor Williams are really equipped to be significant receiving threats, but they have a simple plan.
“The bottom line in this league is using your players to the best of their ability in such a way that allows them to be successful”, Roman said. “That’s something we’re going to have to work through. I feel great about the guys we have…When the defense tells us to throw it to the backs, we will”.