The Baltimore Ravens had a very eventful 2021 preseason. They extended their winning streak in exhibition games to 20-straight, which broke the NFL’s all-time record. They also dealt with a huge number of injuries, including multiple that ended the seasons of key players before the year began.
One of those players who saw their 2021 season cut short was running back J.K. Dobbins. The second-year rusher was expected to do big things this year, but unfortunately won’t have the chance to do so after tearing his ACL in Baltimore’s third and final preseason game. That series of events led Chris Roling of Bleacher Report to label the Ravens as one of his “losers” of the 2021 preseason on a list he put together of the biggest winners and losers of the exhibition period.
“On one hand, running back remains a devalued position, so a team losing a starter not named, say, Saquon Barkley, doesn’t seem like that big of a deal…But the Baltimore Ravens’ loss of J.K. Dobbins comes close…The 22-year-old suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Baltimore’s preseason finale, putting an end to breakout whispers.”
Roling mentioned how the injury to Dobbins will impact the rest of Baltimore’s running backs.
“The Ravens will give the majority of the workload to Gus Edwards, who scored six times last year on a 5.0 average, but he has just 414 attempts since 2018. Undrafted Ty’Son Williams and 2019 fourth-rounder Justice Hill are the only names behind Edwards and have combined for just 70 regular-season attempts.”
He also talked about what it could mean for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“This is an especially concerning development in Baltimore, where Lamar Jackson has attempted at least 147 rushes in each of his first three seasons, leading the team in rushing yardage in each of the last two. Ideally, Baltimore would reduce his carries to better protect him for the long term, but Dobbins’ loss will put more strain—and risk—on him.”
There’s no doubt that the loss of Dobbins is a crushing blow to Baltimore’s offense in multiple aspects. Losing one running back for the season was hard enough, but now Justice Hill will miss the entire 2021 season with a torn achilles, so the Ravens currently only have two healthy rushers on their roster. Baltimore will likely sign a running back (or two) in the coming days, but it will be interesting to keep an eye on how the team splits up carries with Dobbins now out of the fold.