Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has provided some updates on the injury situation surrounding running back J.K. Dobbins.
To say that J.K. Dobbins has had an up and down time in the NFL so far might be something of an understatement. Having been taken by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft, he came out of the blocks with a solid debut season, rushing for 805 yards and a touchdown.
He then followed that up with a further 85 yards and a touchdown during that season’s playoffs, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to help the Ravens as they were dumped out by the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional round, but even worse things were still to come.
In the final preseason game ahead of the 2021 season, Dobbins suffered a torn ACL that caused him to miss the entire season. Given how he did in his first season, it wouldn’t be too outrageous to think that he could have improved on his debut campaign and broken the 1,000-yard marker.
Ravens need him back urgently
When it comes to the Ravens, the running game is an incredibly important part of how they run their offense, indeed they finished last season with the 3rd-most rushing yards as a team in the entire league with 2,479. With quarterback Lamar Jackson setting the league alight with how well he runs the ball, the Ravens were able to supplement that last season with the likes of Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman, both of whom are now free agents.
Which means that it’s going to be down to players like Dobbins to carry the load this season once he is fit and healthy again. And according to Ravens coach John Harbaugh, he appears to be well on the way to making that become a reality.
What’s he said?
Speaking to reporters during training camp (taken via the Ravens’ website), Harbaugh claimed that Dobbins was doing well in recovering from his ACL injury:
“He looked good. He’s kind of back on track, and I thought he looked a little better than he did before – last week. So, he continues to improve, and we’ll see where it goes.”
Although when asked about whether or not he’s likely to see his workload increase, Harbaugh stepped back a little bit on that end, insisting that a lot of that will depend on how he progresses moving forward in his recovery:
“I think it depends on the injury and just the improvement with it – the progress he makes from one day to the next. That remains to be seen.”
Given the losses of Murray and Freeman from last year, it’s possible that Dobbins will be asked to take on the vast majority of the running responsibilities out of the backfield for the Ravens this year, so they need to be extremely careful with how they handle him, because the last thing they need is to reinjure him and find themselves back at square one without someone reliable to turn to.