Javorius “Buck” Allen proved a lot in the 2017 season. Now he has to keep making progress in 2018:
Javorius Allen proved to be the best running back not named Alex Collins on the Baltimore Ravens roster, last season. It was a big year for Allen. He had a very strong showing in his rookie year, but followed it up with a vanishing act in 2016. Believe it or not, at this time last year there was question whether the former USC running back would even make the roster.
In his rookie season Allen provided 514 yards on the ground and 353 as a receiver. While he wasn’t a bruising runner in between the tackles, he proved that he was a solid contributor as a ball carrier. It was his production as a passing option out of the backfield that proved to be the most impressive.
In the 2016 season, Allen had almost no production. 2017 was a prove it year for him, and he showed up for it. Allen had 591 rushing yards and he scored four big touchdowns for a scoring impaired Ravens team. Allen also added 250 receiving yards and had two touchdown receptions. Allen’s numbers were perfect for what he was, a number two running back.
Keeping relevance is the key:
There’s no shame in being a number two running back, and it seems like Allen thrives in that position. Alex Collins is the showstopper but he isn’t the only play-maker in the backfield. Allen’s job heading into training camp is to not let the return of Kenneth Dixon phase him out of the offense. Allen has to keep earning his time on the field, and the backfield battle just got interesting.
Collins is the workhorse of the offense and he is still the main attraction. Allen and Dixon have to figure out their roles moving forward. If Dixon proves to be the perfect compliment to Collins, Allen has to find a way to stay relevant. What Allen could end up as is the new Danny Woodhead. Woodhead was a pass catching running back. He was essentially a receiver that could line up in the backfield.
With Joe Flacco having the tendency to dump it off at the first sign of trouble (something that can probably be blamed on the 2013 offensive line) Allen could thrive in a safety valve kind of role. Allen proved that he is a play-maker and as long as he is not the headliner of the Ravens running back committee he shouldn’t disappoint. His role is in question. His ability is not and the Ravens need to make it work.