The Baltimore Ravens remain optimistic that running back J.K. Dobbins will be able to suit up for the team’s Week 1 matchup with the New York Jets. But now a week away from the start of the season, his return is far from a guarantee.
The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reported late last week that Dobbins was “hardly a sure thing” to be ready for Week 1. The third-year running back is still working his way back from a torn ACL and remains a question mark for the team’s season-opener.
Head coach John Harbaugh was characteristically noncommital on the situation when speaking to the media last week suggesting that the Ravens are in good shape regardless of who they play at running back in Week 1.
"“Well, Gus [Edwards] won’t be ready; he’s out until Week 4. He won’t be ready before Week 4 because of his [PUP] designation. And J.K. [Dobbins], if J.K. can go out right now, that would be great. I would be excited. He had a good practice today. If not, we have the guys that will play. So, we’re good either way.”"
With Gus Edwards sidelined until at least Week 5, the Ravens will be leaning on Dobbins early in the season, but until he returns to full health, the team will be forced to employ a running-back-by-committee approach.
The Ravens might be without J.K. Dobbins in Week 1
Even if Dobbins is active for the first game of the season, it’s probably best to assume that he’ll be on somewhat of a pitch count. The former second-round pick has never carried the ball more than 15 times in a game and it’s hard to believe the Ravens will ask him to do so in his first game back from injury.
That means the Ravens might see a heavy dose of veterans Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake, both of whom represent quality backup options with Dobbins and Edwards still nursing injuries.
Davis received the majority of first-team reps this summer and should be the top guy if Dobbins is unable to play while the recently-signed Drake figures to mix in as well.
The Ravens have options unlike last season when they were forced to lean on the likes of Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le’Veon Bell. It’s no coincidence that none of the three are currently on NFL rosters.
The Ravens still hope that J.K. Dobbins will be able to play next Sunday, but even if he is, don’t expect him to make a sizable impact early on.