It’s a well-known secret the Ravens have one of the deepest backfields in the NFL. The only problem with that talent, though, is deciding how, when, and where to use the four talented running backs.
For now, there are just three backs (Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards) while Justice Hill rehabs an injury. But when all are healthy, the division of backfield touches is one of the most intriguing storylines on the team this season.
Do the Ravens ride with the veteran Ingram, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season? Or Dobbins, the supremely talented rookie who ran for just a tick over 2,000 yards at Ohio State? Is Edwards or Hill the best option to give the top two on the depth chart a breather.
Either way, the Ravens are content to keep it a secret.
“There’s no exact science there, it’s going to be different every week,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “We’ll see how it goes, who’s got the hot hand, but also, we’ll have certain things for certain guys. However that unfolds every week, it’ll be a little bit different. We like to keep people guessing, so it’ll happen the way it happens. But I think you’ll get a little bit (of a) different ratio every week.”
Sunday against the Browns, the Ravens played their backfield about as down-the-middle as possible.
Ingram had 10 carries, Dobbins had seven and Edwards had four. Dobbins scored twice, but Edwards had the best yards-per-carry average of the running backs with 4.3
In terms of snap counts, they were just as split. Ingram played 21 snaps, Dobbins played 23 and Edwards played 15.
The Ravens can be as multiple as they please, especially with quarterback Lamar Jackson commanding some carries — designed or otherwise — each week. He had 10 against the Browns and totaled 45 yards.
There’s a lot of different ways the Ravens can take their backfield this year, whether they choose to ride a hot hand, split carries evenly once again, design specific plays for specific runners, or even a combination of all three.
But Roman and the Ravens know there’s intrigue about that position. And they like it that way.