Baltimore Ravens: What can their run game accomplish in 2019?
All eyes will be on Lamar Jackson’s development as a passer in 2019, but we can’t deny how excited we are for the Ravens rushing attack this season.
Last season, the Baltimore Ravens rushing attack was nothing short of dominant. Baltimore finished second in the NFL in most team rushing yards, behind only the Seattle Seahawks. Of the Ravens top-four rushers from 2018, three of them had a minimum of 4.7 YPC, with the outlier being Alex Collins, who has since been cut by the team. The Ravens top running back, Gus Edwards, is back for 2019 with Baltimore and will join a deadly backfield.
Joining Edwards is former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram and rookie Justice Hill from Oklahoma State. Ingram, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, is supposed to be entering the twilight given his age (will turn 30-years old December 21st), yet has been one of the league’s top runners since 2014. Meanwhile, Hill has been electric throughout his career as a Cowboy and was a highly respected commodity in the 2019 NFL Draft.
What makes this backfield so dangerous is how well-balanced it all is. Ingram gives Baltimore a veteran runner who can do a little bit of everything. Ingram is a hard runner between the tackles and can take runs outside, but he has a nose for the end-zone and is a more-than-capable receiver. Edwards is the back-breaking power-back who will perhaps be the best closer in football. And to top it all off is Hill’s game-breaking speed that will give the Ravens highlight reel plays.
Take these three men and plug them into a backfield with quarterback Lamar Jackson and you are giving defenses fits. Considering both Jackson and Edwards would’e rushed for over 1,000-yards each if you take their seven game averages over a full 16-game season, adding Ingram and Hill to that tandem only makes this unit deadlier. It’s almost not even fair.
To have such harmony in your running back core and then to add a mobile quarterback like Jackson gives you a recipe for greatness, perhaps even historic status.
A three-headed hydra:
While it would be surprising to see the Baltimore Ravens topple 3,000 team rushing yards, this unit could still surpass the Seahawks 2018 league-leading 2,560-yards. What Seattle had in 2018 was remarkable, as quarterback Russell Wilson watched his running backs dominate all-year long. Now, Lamar Jackson gets that in 2019, and maybe even more.
Wilson is a terrific mobile quarterback, but he is a tremendous thrower of the football. At this point in his career, Jackson is not a great passer, but he is an elite runner. Because of this, Jackson will continue to lean on what he’s comfortable with and run the ball.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman will devise a brilliant scheme to get the most out of Jackson, but it’s a very safe assumption that Jackson’s legs will be a huge part of his game-plan. Naturally, we can also assume that Roman will make sure to have tons of unique run-packages and use his backs in a variety of ways.
Considering the diversity of running backs that Roman has at his disposal, we could see Baltimore’s rushing attack have more success than its ever seen in its history as a franchise.
Right now, the Ravens have a three-headed hydra in their backfield, and that doesn’t even include Jackson. What Baltimore could accomplish in 2019 with their rushing attack could be something unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. No other team in NFL history has had a quarterback like Jackson and the running backs to compliment him like the Ravens do. We may be in for something very special in 2019, folks…