Baltimore Ravens: Can 2020 run game be better than 2019?
The 2019 Baltimore Ravens had the most prolific rushing attack in NFL history, but could the 2020 Baltimore Ravens run game be even better?
2019 saw the Baltimore Ravens become just the second-ever team to host a quarterback and running back each rush for over 1,000-yards in the forms of Lamar Jackson (1,206-yards) and Mark Ingram (1,018-yards). Behind them was second-year man Gus Edwards with 718-yards of his own. All in all, the Ravens run game as a whole accumulated 3,296-yards, the most in NFL history.
Watching Baltimore run the football was an absolute treat for old-school football fans who like to see ground-and-pound, back-breaking offenses. Now headed into 2020, the entire backfield from 2019 returns with the addition of 2020 second-round draft pick J.K. Dobbins.
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With the same core returning and even improving from a year ago, could we possibly see an even better run game in 2020? It’s a tall task to even replicate it, let alone exceed it, but it’s not nearly as impossible as it may seem.
For starters, the Ravens will remain a run-heavy offense in 2020. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has always been a fan of utilizing the run game to power his offenses. After seeing just how much he did so last season, there’s little evidence to support a change in philosophy at this point in his coaching career. Roman is also a hot candidate to become a head coach at some point, perhaps next offseason, so he’ll definitely want to stick to what works best for him.
There was a report that came out this offseason where Jackson stated he doesn’t expect to run as much moving forward, so there’s a chance we won’t see him nearly as involved in the run game in 2020. But the Ravens will subtract Jackson’s rushing attempts and add them to their running backs. Ingram had 202 carries a season ago, while Edwards had 133. Including Jackson, those three each had over 130 carries. It seems plausible that we could see Baltimore have three players eclipse 100 carries in 2020, but this time with all three being running backs.
The rookie Dobbins will have a significant role in this offense as a runner if his draft status is any indication of this. As the youngest and perhaps most talented running back on the roster, Dobbins has a chance to be the team’s lead back.
Even if Dobbins doesn’t become “the guy” the Ravens will be just fine with another season of Ingram being the lead back. Overall though, this backfield is totally loaded and will be tough for opposing defenses to stop. It should once again be the NFL’s best rushing unit.
At a minimum, it’s very difficult to see any form of regression from the Baltimore Ravens run game in 2020. This group is uber-talented with the depth to stay fresh all year long. Even if Lamar Jackson doesn’t run the way he did in 2019, the three running backs the team has will be more than enough to power the rushing attack all year long.