Consider the Baltimore Ravens an NFL outlier.
There’s no doubt that it has become a pass-happy league where it’s normal to see quarterbacks throw for 4,000 yards.
But the Ravens will pound the ground as much as they want.
They are not afraid to stick it to the opposing team because they have the personnel that can dominate the run game.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson is coming off back-to-back seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, Gus Edwards averaged five yards per carry last season.
Finally, starting running back J.K. Dobbins had 805 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020.
Unfortunately, the three-headed monster of the Ravens running attack suffered a setback when Dobbins went down during the preseason.
Uh oh! JK Dobbins down and at first sight it appears to be serious 😳 pic.twitter.com/9Xe3xy4GSX
— JTMoney27 (@jt_money27) August 28, 2021
Jackson called for a pass play in the first quarter of their game against the Washington Football Team.
At first, Dobbins intended to block before setting up for a screen pass.
With pressure coming, Jackson dumped the ball to Dobbins, and the latter took off.
The tackle’s angle was awkward, and Dobbins was clutching his left leg after the play.
He was carted off the field to end his preseason stint.
However, that injury will also end Dobbins’ hopes for 2021, as an MRI revealed a season-ending ACL tear.
With Dobbins sidelined for the year, expect Edwards to have a breakout season.
As always, Jackson will continue to be a potent dual-threat.
He needs a solid year also to increase his value as his contract extension talks draw closer.
But come to think of it, the Ravens have to blame themselves for what happened to Dobbins.
It remains to be seen if his loss will have a drastic effect on their playoff hopes.
Starters Shouldn’t Play Preseason Games
Once again, Dobbins’ injury brought to light the argument that starters must not play preseason games.
If they are deserving of their spot, they will come ready in Week 1 or any game for that matter.
They don’t need a few sequences or to play one quarter to get them going.
Their ability to motivate themselves separates them from the rest of the pack.
Let those who are battling for a place in the final roster show their worth during these games.
Come the regular season, and the replacements will have less playing time as the starters take over.
Should they get cut, other teams will have game tape to evaluate those they’d like to sign.
JK Dobbins’ injury reinforces two things:
1. Don’t play your starters in the preseason.
2. Don’t have your fantasy drafts until after the preseason is over.
— Luke Nadkarni (@RadioNadkarni) August 28, 2021
Likewise, team practices should do the trick in whipping up starters into game shape.
Perhaps the Ravens were playing to keep their streak of preseason game victories intact.
The squad hasn’t lost a tune-up game since the 2016 season, and their run now stands at 20 games.
But that’s a meaningless record to have because those games don’t matter.
Now, they suffer the consequences by losing Dobbins for the season.
This catastrophe should be a learning experience for the Ravens as their 2021 campaign progresses.
If their ground game struggles, the coaching staff has no one to blame but themselves.
Another title run was lost due to their blunder.