Latest On Ravens’ J.K. Dobbins, Rashod Bateman

The 2023 offseason saw the Ravens make a number of changes on offense, but returnees will still have a major role to play in the unit’s success. That group includes running back J.K. Dobbins and wideout Rashod Bateman, who recently addressed the injury troubles which have marred their respective careers.

Dobbins missed all of 2021 and much of last season due to a major knee injury. The 24-year-old was able to return for the closing weeks of the campaign and Baltimore’s wild-card loss, but he was then absent for much of this offseason. Dobbins was not in attendance for OTAs or minicamp, and it was not until last week that he was activated from the PUP list.

Uncertainty clouded whether an injury or dissatisfaction with his contract status was the reason Dobbins did not take part in spring practices and most of training camp. His return was welcomed by a team which should again rely on him to lead its backfield, although the Ohio State product has not received the workload of many other No. 1 backs when on the field. In any case, he is confident in his prospects for 2023.

“That’s a tough question,” Dobbins said, via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, when speaking about his absence in the spring (subscription required). “I was just being cautious. My teammates need me, so I want to be there for my teammates. That’s all it was. My teammates understood what was going on. So, it’s all good now. I’m out here.

“I’m pretty dang confident, especially coming off the end of the year last year,” he added. “A lot of people could see that I wasn’t all the way 100 percent healthy, but I still had some pretty good games there… If I get the volume as some of the other guys, it’ll be a really good year.”

Signficant usage for Dobbins would mark a change from Baltimore’s previous approach with him, seeing as he has received more than 15 carries in a game only once so far in his career. It could also result in a productive campaign, something with signficant financial implications. Dobbins is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and, as Zrebiec confirms, nothing is imminent on the extension front. A healthy year would, in any event, help Dobbins’ case dramatically.

The same is true of Bateman, who has been limited to just 18 games across his first two years in the NFL. The former first-rounder was shut down due to a Lisfranc injury in 2022, and he too was not activated until August. Bateman has amassed 800 yards on a healthy 13.1 yards per reception average to date, but more will be expected of him in 2023 if he can put together a full season with respect to availability. He echoed Dobbins’ confidence in being healed in full at this point, and that his previous injury issues are now behind him.

The Minnesota product is joined in the WR corps by free agent additions Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor, along with first-round rookie Zay Flowers. Those new faces have increased expectations for Baltimore’s passing game, which will be directed by new offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Bateman, 23, will nevertheless be a focal point if he can reach his potential, which was showcased by his first two Ravens campaigns and a strong career in college.

Amongst their remarks, both Dobbins and Bateman expressed a desire to remain in Baltimore for years to come. With the former set to hit free agency next March and the latter due to have a decision made on his fifth-year option next spring as well, the health and play of both will be worth watching closely in 2023.

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