The Baltimore Ravens led the league in rushing last season with 191.9 yards per game.
That’s no surprise considering that they had a potent three-prong attack, starting with quarterback Lamar Jackson.
He became the first NFL quarterback to have multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons when he had 1,005 on 159 carries in 2020.
Jackson won league MVP honors the year before when he passed for 3,127 yards and ran for 1,206.
Lamar Jackson week one pic.twitter.com/SRkKrsmvt1
— NFL Humor (@NFLHumor) September 9, 2021
But as Jackson catches his breath, the Ravens ground attack remains relentless.
The Ravens’ second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, J.K Dobbins, finished with 805 yards on 134 attempts and had two 100-yard rushing games.
Meanwhile, undrafted Gus Edwards added 723 rushing yards on 144 tries, including 101 yards against the Dallas Cowboys.
Baltimore is looking to dominate on the ground once more in 2021.
But their aspirations were crumbling before the regular season started.
Dobbins suffered a season-ending injury during their preseason game against the Washington Football Team.
The Ravens have had brutal injury luck this offseason…
▪️ Rashod Bateman on IR
▪️J.K. Dobbins (ACL)
▪️Justice Hill (Achilles)
▪️Gus Edwards (Feared ACL)
▪️Marcus Peters (Feared ACL)
Hoping for a speedy recovery 🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/NKOWZammSG
— PFF (@PFF) September 9, 2021
Worst, Gus Edwards will be out of action for the year due to a torn ACL.
Losing two of their top three rushers will drastically impede their approach of taking control through the run game.
Justice Hill’s injury does not help their cause either.
But as Dobbins and Edwards start their road to recovery, other running backs will take the chance to resurrect their careers.
Open Tryouts For The Ravens Backfield
The Ravens signed Le’Veon Bell to their practice squad after Dobbins’ injury.
He’s coming off his worst season in the NFL as a rotation player for the Kansas City Chiefs.
After appearing for two games with the New York Jets, Bell played nine games and rushed for 254 yards.
But it’s easy to forget that Bell was one of the NFL’s best running backs.
He is a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A look at Lamar Jackson and Le’Veon Bell at Thursday’s practice pic.twitter.com/Wa79xWB5jh
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) September 9, 2021
In 2014, he ran for 1,361 yards and eight touchdowns.
Three years later, he had another strong year with 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns.
At 29, he still has a few good seasons left in him, and the Ravens are hoping that 2021 will be Bell’s resurgence.
Meanwhile, Devonta Freeman spent one month with the New Orleans Saints before joining the Ravens practice squad.
He last played in 2020 for the New York Giants, wherein he made 172 yards in four games.
Like Bell, Freeman made the Pro Bowl in multiple seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.
Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell, at least for the time being, give the Ravens the most decorated practice squad in recent memory, if not in NFL history.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2021
In 2015, he finished with 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns in 265 carries.
A year later, Freeman started all 16 games for Atlanta and tallied 1,079 rushing yards.
Finally, the Saints also released Latavius Murray after he refused to take a pay cut.
Given their dire need for running backs, it didn’t take long for the Ravens to sign him on a one-year contract.
How Latavius Murray pulling up to Lamar Jackson house pic.twitter.com/uAgOlUY4zT
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) September 9, 2021
Murray served as Alvin Kamara’s backup and made 656 rushing yards with four touchdowns.
Bell, Freeman, and Murray will form Baltimore’s temporary backfield this season and nothing more.
But it’s hard to see them returning once Dobbins and Edwards are healthy.
However, they can make the most of this opportunity to land a role elsewhere.NEXT: Latavius Murray Getting A Great Chance To Shine With The Ravens