Does Alex Collins still deserve to be Ravens’ starting running back?
Alex Collins’ fumbling issues were apparent coming into the 2018 season. They have resurfaced and now it begs the question, is he still worthy enough to be the ravens star running back?
Coming into the 2018 season it looked as if Alex Collins had a firm grasp as the Ravens premiere running back. After a breakout 2017 season, Collins made a name for himself both here in Baltimore and around the league. From his quickness and agility, to his impressive Irish jig after every touchdown, Collins had earned the respect and confidence from the coaches to headline the Ravens’ run game.
Collins finished last year with 973 yards and six touchdowns, on 212 carries in 15 games. He had six runs of twenty plus yards and averaged just under five yards a carry. However, with every player in the league, he did have a downfall. Collins struggled to keep the ball in his hands. He put the ball on the turf four times last year, a number that had both coach Harbaugh and fans palming their faces.
Sometimes trying to do too much can lead to mistakes. This has happened a little too often with Collins. His elusiveness has gotten the best of him at times and has forced him to take his attention away from securing the ball. He did seem to clean up his act in the latter half of the season, but it was still a worry that many had about Collins.
That worry has seemed to come back to fruition this year as Collins has already put the ball on the ground twice. In week one against Buffalo Collins coughed up the rock, which caused him to miss a couple of series. Luckily, the Ravens had the Bills handled and his miscue did not lead to a major change in the game.
Unfortunately, the same can not be said for this past week. In a first and goal situation, Collins took the hand-off from Flacco and ran to his left. Instead, of continuing to race for the pylon, Collins decided to go head first against two Steelers defenders and try to power his way into the end zone. That’s where the mistake was made, as Collins had the ball stripped out of his grasp and recovered by Pittsburgh on their own one yard line. Now, instead of a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter, the Ravens’ defense had to compensate for Collins’ mistake, with very little momentum on their side.
Ultimately, the turnover only led to a field goal for the Steelers, but the momentum shift allowed for them to eventually tie the game at 14 in the second. Of course the Ravens did come out victorious, but the one negative was Collins’ lack of ball security.
That leads to the topic of this article. Does Collins still belong in the number one spot on the depth chart? It seems that Collins hasn’t really worked on his ball security and the Ravens can’t afford to have that liability out on the field every week. Add in the fact that Harbaugh has a short fuse for fumbling issues, I can only imagine that Collins’ leash has become extremely short. As much of a spark as Collins provides for the offense, I believe that Buck Allen should be the number one guy from this point forward.
Although, he doesn’t have the same speed and agility as Collins, Allen does hold onto the ball and is a downhill runner, who can carry a few guys with him on the way. Allen can also catch out the backfield and is a major threat in the red zone, already sporting four touchdowns on the year. I’m not saying to completely abandon Collins because he provides a spark and the ability to make multiple people miss on any given play. What I am saying however, is to go with the safer bet in Allen, when it comes to keeping the ball in the hands of the offense.
Hopefully, Collins can eventually fix his fumbling issues and show that he can perform at the same level he did in the second half of last season.