J.K. Dobbins

Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins Expected To Return For Week 3

The Ravens have gotten little production from the running back position so far in 2022, but the top member of their backfield will return tomorrow. J.K. Dobbins is set to play in Week 3 against the Patriots, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). 

That represents a significant development for Baltimore. Dobbins, 23, flashed considerable potential as a rookie in 2020. Taking over as the team’s lead back midseason, he ran for 805 yards and nine touchdowns. His 6.0 yards-per-carry figure led to considerable expectations heading into his second season, but they were put on hold when the Ohio State product suffered a season-ending knee injury.

In the absence of Dobbins – along with backup Gus Edwards, whose production and efficiency had him in line to operate as the team’s lead back until his own knee injury – Baltimore struggled on the ground last season. Relying on veterans Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman, much of the team’s rushing figures came off of scrambles from quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley. Likewise, Jackson has accounted for over 62% of the Ravens’ rushing totals through two weeks.

Dobbins originally insisted that he would be available to start the campaign, but the Ravens have understandably remained patient with his recovery. With Edwards guaranteed to miss at least the next two contests, Dobbins should have plenty of opportunities available to him. However, it is expected that he will be eased back into action while returning to game form. Dobbins will therefore likely rotate heavily with Kenyan Drake and Mike Davis for the time being.

In other injury news, the Ravens announced earlier today that left tackle Ronnie Stanley will not suit up. The All-Pro continues to deal with lingering ankle issues, and has yet to play this season. While Dobbins will therefore not have a full-strength offensive line in front of him tomorrow, bigger things can reasonably be expected for Baltimore’s ground attack as they look to bounce back from last week’s defeat.

AFC Injury Notes: Ravens, Watt, Bengals

J.K. Dobbins returned to practice today, with the running back hoping to make his long-awaited return to the field this Sunday. The Ravens running back admitted that his injury “wasn’t just a normal ACL,” with Dobbins explaining that he tore his ACL, LCL, hamstring, and meniscus at the end of the 2021 preseason (per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley on Twitter). It’s been just over a year since Dobbins suffered his injury.

“It would mean the world to me if I can go out there this Sunday and play well in front of a full house,” Dobbins said (via Hensley).

Fellow running back Gus Edwards also missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL, but thanks to his placement on PUP, he’ll have to sit out the first four games of the season. Still, Edwards took to Instagram to tell fans that he continues to progress in his recovery and eventual return to the field.

“For everybody wondering about my recovery I’m doing great and I’m very close,” Edwards wrote.

More injury notes from around the AFC…

  • The news keeps getting better for T.J. Watt and the Steelers. The star linebacker could recover from his partially torn pectoral muscle within five weeks, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com. There was initial fear that Watt had completely torn his pec, which would have ended his season. The news quickly got better; we learned yesterday that Watt wouldn’t need surgery and could be back within six weeks.
  • Bengals long snapper Clark Harris is expected to miss an extended amount of time after tearing his biceps, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). While Zac Taylor didn’t want to rule out the LS for the season, he did acknowledge that the 38-year-old will miss at least a few months (via ESPN’s Ben Baby on Twitter). Harris, a one-time Pro Bowler, has been with the organization since 2009. Cal Adomitis will get the first shot to replace Harris at long snapper.
  • J.C. Jackson has been listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Chiefs, and Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said earlier this week that the cornerback has a “50-50” shot at playing (per NFL Network’s James Palmer on Twitter). Jackson previously suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss the team’s Week 1 victory over the Raiders. After earning a second-team All-Pro nod with the Patriots in 2021, Jackson joined Los Angeles this offseason on a five-year, $82.5MM deal. Meanwhile, both Chargers wideout Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker (ankle) have been ruled out for Thursday’s showdown.
  • Mac Jones dealt with back spasms following the Patriots‘ Week 1 loss to the Dolphins, but the quarterback continues to improve, according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi (on Twitter). A source told Giardi that the QB is “doing everything he needs to” in order to be on the field for this weekend’s matchup against the Steelers. Jones and the Patriots offense struggled during the season opener, with the second-year QB guiding New England to only one touchdown.

Ravens Notes: Dobbins, Jones, OLBs

Earlier this month, the Ravens got their top RB back on the practice field when they activated J.K. Dobbins. It was a welcomed sign for the team, after the former second-rounder missed the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL.

Dobbins is still not a lock to suit up in Week 1 as he continues to recover from the injury, however. As a result, he “won’t get a full workload” immediately upon his return, notes ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. The Ohio State product took over the lead role midway through his rookie season, averaging six yards per carry and scoring nine total touchdowns. Those figures led to major expectations last season, but his year-long absence (along with that of backup Gus Edwards, who will also miss at least the first month of the 2022 season) dealt a major blow to Baltimore’s run game.

The Ravens, unsurprisingly, will ease Dobbins back into lead-back duties. Given that, and Edwards’ ongoing recovery, the team will turn to a combination of veteran signing Mike Davis and, in all likelihood, sixth-round rookie Tyler Badie in support roles in the backfield.

Here are some other notes from Charm City:

  • Dobbins isn’t the only promising young player whose health status the team is watching carefully. Rookie defensive lineman Travis Jones is dealing with a sprained knee which should keep him sidelined for three to five weeks, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The third-rounder had an impressive training camp and preseason, and will be in line for at least a rotational role right way. The chances of his debut coming in Week 1 are greatly lessened by this news, though, so the Ravens will lean more heavily on starter Michael Pierce in the middle of the d-line.
  • The Ravens have been named as a potential landing spot for a veteran edge signing throughout the offseason, given the team’s relative lack of moves at the position. Especially considering the fact that projected starter Tyus Bowser was placed on the reserve/PUP list last week (guaranteeing that he will miss the first four weeks of the season), the team is thin at the position until he and/or second-round rookie David Ojabo recover from their respective Achilles tears. As such, a pass rush addition of some kind should be expected, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Athletic (subscription required). Jason Pierre-Paul, who visited the team earlier this offseason, tops the list of remaining free agents; plenty of other names are due to become available as well during final roster cuts.
  • In that same piece, Zrebiec also notes that wideout Demarcus Robinson‘s deal, signed last week, includes nearly $900K in guaranteed money. That should help ensure he remains on the roster, something he wasn’t able to do with the Raiders. The veteran had four catches for 135 yards and a touchdown during the team’s preseason finale, and figures to play a notable role in their receiver rotation.
  • Safety Tony Jefferson could find himself on the roster bubble tomorrow, but not for a lack of effort to return to his previous form. The 30-year-old suffered a knee injury in 2019 which cost him his starting spot; he underwent a total of four surgeries to repair the damage, Zrebiec details. Jefferson understandably considered retirement during the process, but has now recovered to the point where he came back to Baltimore last season and could carve out a role on the 2022 squad as well.

Ravens Notes: OL, Edwards, WR Search

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh recently stated that the injury suffered by rookie center Tyler Linderbaum wasn’t expected to be serious. After further testing, that outlook remains the same, though there have been conflicting reports on the nature of the injury.

Earlier this week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo indicated that the foot ailment is a Lisfranc injury (video link). That would be particularly relevant in Linderbaum’s case, as he played through the same injury in college. Rapoport added that this latest issue was a “reoccurrence” of the injury suffered during the first-rounder’s time at Iowa, but that it was a sprain, rather than a rupture, leading to further belief in the original one-to-two week recovery timeline.

However, Harbaugh disputed that reporting, instead stating that Linderbaum suffered a soft-tissue injury. “It’s a different ligament,” Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer“So he’s had the Lisfranc before. There’s no separation. There’s no Lisfranc sprain, per se.” He nevertheless confirmed that the issue is “not serious,” so Linderbaum is still expected to be available for Week 1 of the regular season, where he is penciled in as the team’s starting center.

Here are some other notes from Charm City:

  • A couple of the Ravens’ wideouts are also banged up. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets that James Proche could be out for “a few weeks” due to a soft tissue injury of his own. In addition, Tylan Wallace sprained his knee during last night’s preseason game. Slated to hold the third and fourth positions on the WR depth chart, respectively, any significant absence from either player would weaken what could already be the thinnest position group on Baltimore’s roster. As Zrebiec adds, the team “may have no choice now” but to add a veteran still on the open market.
  • The team appears to be on track to get RB J.K. Dobbins back to full health in time for the regular season, but the outlook isn’t as good for his backup. Per Zrebiec, Gus Edwards is “considered a long shot” to be available for Week 1. Both backs missed all of last season due to knee injuries, and their return will prove crucial to the team’s rushing attack. Edwards has two years remaining on his current contract, with cap hits of $4.5MM and $5.6MM this year and next.
  • The one spot which has been undecided throughout the offseason along the offensive line is left guard. Ben Powers remains in the lead for the starting spot, reports ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. His consistency currently places him ahead of Tyre Phillips, who is seen as having more upside but has missed significant time during each of his first two seasons. With the top two spots likely going to Powers and Phillips, 2021 third-rounder Ben Cleveland (who missed the first week of training camp due to a failed conditioning test) is now a “long shot” to make the roster.

Ravens Activate RB J.K. Dobbins, Sign CB Daryl Worley

For the first time in nearly a year, J.K. Dobbins is back with the Ravens at practice. The team took its starting running back off the active/PUP list Monday.

Suffering a torn ACL and sustaining LCL and meniscus damage during the team’s final preseason game last year, Dobbins has not played since his rookie season. Monday’s news does not necessarily mean Dobbins will be in uniform when the Ravens open up their regular season, but it obviously helps open the door to that reality. The third-year back can begin ramping up in full toward debuting with his teammates in Week 1.

The Ravens also signed cornerback Daryl Worley, who worked out with the team over the weekend, and moved linebacker Vince Biegel on IR. This marks somewhat of a reunion for Worley, who finished last season with the Ravens. The veteran cover man, however, played in just one game with the 2021 Ravens. He has played for five other teams over the course of a six-year career.

Dobbins became a key presence as a rookie, averaging six yards per carry and rushing for nine touchdowns. He did this largely as a reserve, starting just one game as part of a deep backfield. The Ohio State product will be brought along slowly ahead of the regular season.

The knee injuries suffered by Dobbins and Gus Edwards threw Baltimore’s backfield into disarray last season. No Ravens running back topped 600 yards in 2021. Veterans Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman led the way, each clearing the 500-yard mark as part of a committee composed of late free agency additions. Le’Veon Bell was also briefly part of this coalition, as was Ty’Son Williams. None of these players are with Baltimore this year.

The Ravens still face significant questions about their backfield ahead of Week 1, due also to Edwards remaining on the active/PUP list. Teams have until August 23 to move players off the active/PUP list. Doing so avoids a player being shut down for the season’s first four games. Like Dobbins, Edwards is finishing up ACL recovery. Veteran Mike Davis and sixth-round rookie Tyler Badie are now part of the team’s backfield equation.

Despite his nomadic NFL run, Worley is still just 27. He worked as a primary starter for the Panthers and Raiders from 2016-19 but has been more of a depth piece since. The former third-round pick was with the Bills, Cowboys and Lions prior to catching on with the Ravens to close last season.

Biegel suffered a torn ACL last week. The Ravens had signed him in May. This represents another bad late-20s break for Biegel. The 29-year-old defender missed the 2020 season because of an Achilles tear. The former starter recovered to return as a Dolphins backup last season, yo-yoing on and off Miami’s practice squad.

Ravens Place Six Players On PUP List

The Ravens’ 2021 season was derailed by injuries, and the team is still feeling the effects of it as training camp opens up. The team announced on Friday that six players have been placed on the active/PUP list. 

On offense, left tackle Ronnie Stanley is among the players listed. The former All-Pro has played in just one game since October of 2020 due to multiple ankle surgeries. The team has remained optimistic that, unlike last season, a more cautious offseason approach can keep him on the field permanently once the regular season begins. Baltimore has several options to replace him if he remains sidelined, including veteran Ja’Wuan James – himself no stranger to injury problems.

Not surprisingly, running back J.K. Dobbins is also on the list. It was reported earlier this week that the 23-year-old might not be fully recovered from his ACL tear in time for the regular season opener. The progress of his rehab will be worth watching closely during camp, as is the case for fellow back Gus Edwards. He, like Dobbins, missed the 2021 season in its entirety, putting his September availability in question. Free agent signing Mike Davis and sixth-round rookie Tyler Badie could be in line for significant reps in camp.

Two key defenders are on the list as well. Cornerback Marcus Peters was named as a PUP candidate earlier this month, as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in the preseason. His return would be welcomed by the Ravens, who struggled mightily against the pass in 2021 and have a new-look CB room. The other member of the secondary on the list is safety Ar’Darius Washington, a former UDFA in contention for a backup role.

Finally, outside linebacker Tyus Bowser represents another unsurprising name on the list. The Ravens jack-of-all-trades edge rusher suffered a torn Achilles in the regular season finale, leaving his Week 1 availability in doubt throughout the offseason. With second-rounder David Ojabo dealing with the same ailment, Bowsers’ September health will be a key talking point in the build-up to the season.

Any of the above players can be activated at any time, though the chances of that happening in the near future is likely lower than that of many other PUP players previously announced, given the severity of many of these injuries.

Ravens’ J.K. Dobbins Uncertain For Week 1?

The makeup of the Ravens’ run game will depend on J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards finishing up their respective rehab efforts after ACL tears nixed their 2021 seasons. Some disagreement on the former’s path emerged Monday.

The prospect of the Ravens holding Dobbins out in Week 1 and perhaps sitting him for multiple September contests is likely to be in play, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). Dobbins disagreed with Rapoport’s situational assessment, indicating he will “damn sure” be ready for Baltimore’s opener (Twitter link).

Dobbins also cast doubt about whether he would even begin training camp on the Ravens’ active/PUP list, though that appears a near-certainty. Players are generally bullish on their recoveries, and by the time the Ravens suit up for Week 1, it will have been over a year since Dobbins’ injury. While Rapoport did not characterize Dobbins’ rehab as off-schedule, he noted a potential delay to his season would stem from this being a “serious, complex injury.”

Dobbins tore an ACL and damaged his left LCL and meniscus, and Rapoport notes the Ravens want to make sure their starting back is 100% when he returns. Caution is understandable here, and John Harbaugh expressed some uncertainty on the Ohio State product’s status last month. The Ravens saw the outcome when Ronnie Stanley came back too soon, playing in last year’s opener before missing the season’s final 16 games.

Free agency addition Mike Davis represents some insurance for Dobbins and Edwards, and the Ravens also added sixth-round running back Tyler Badie (Missouri). But they are again prepared to base their backfield around Dobbins and Edwards, making the conclusions to the two rehab efforts crucial for the run-oriented team. There looks to be less doubt about Edwards’ Week 1 availability, Rapoport adds. The veteran back is expected to be ready to go in time for the regular season. Both Dobbins and Edwards are signed through 2023.

Latest On Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins continues to make good progress on his torn ACL, but don’t expect him to be a full participant at training camp or preseason. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes that the Ravens running back is “probably highly unlikely” to play during the preseason.

We heard previously that Dobbins would likely start training camp on PUP, and Zrebiec indicates that that’s still the plan. Dobbins tore his ACL last August, so he’s looking at about a year recovery before he’s ready to return to the field.

“The knee injuries are a little tougher to say what the schedule really is,” coach John Harbuagh said earlier this month (via Zrebiec). “So, you talk to J.K., he’s the starting running back today, (and) he should have been practicing today, but he’s got work to do still.”

Per Zrebiec, the organization continues to be confident that Dobbins will play a significant offensive role in 2022. However, the reporter also notes that there’s some “outside pessimism” about the running back’s ability to be a legitimate contributor next season. If the organization is just saving face and also shares similar fears, we could see Dobbins sidelined through the start of the regular season as the organization looks to maximize their late-season and postseason chances (although this is just my speculation).

The 2020 second-round pick had a productive rookie campaign, finishing with 925 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns. He formed a two-headed monster with fellow RB Gus Edwards, but Edwards also missed the 2021 campaign with a torn ACL. Both players will be looking toward a comeback season in 2022, but they’ll see some competition for reps from free agent acquisition Mike Davis. The Ravens are also rostering Tyler Badie, Ricky Person, Justice Hill, and Nate McCrary.

Ravens Notes: Stanley, Left Guard, Running Backs

Ravens All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley has only appeared in one game since injuring his ankle in November of 2020. Fortunately, it sounds like the lineman could soon be back on the field, as head coach John Harbaugh gave a positive on the lineman’s status.

“Ronnie’s ankle is looking great,” Harbaugh said (via Clifton Brown of the team’s website). “Ronnie’s mission right now will be to get in the best shape of his life and get ready to play football, and that’s what he’s working on.”

Stanley suffered a severe ankle injury during Week 8 of the 2020 season. He tried to return for the 2021 campaign, and after appearing in 100 percent of his team’s offensive snaps in Week 1, he ultimately decided to opt for more surgery. Prior to his injury, Stanley was among the top left tackles in the NFL, with Pro Football Focus consistently ranking him among the best at his position. The team’s primary goal is to have the veteran ready for Week 1, per Brown.

“I expect him to play like Ronnie Stanley,” Harbaugh added. “He’s really motivated to do it. Just talked to him again today. He’s chomping at the bit to get back. If he plays like Ronnie Stanley, and even better, than the significance is almost immeasurable. And that’s what we’re hoping for.”

More out of Baltimore…

  • Elsewhere on the offensive line, it sounds like Ben Cleveland and Tyre Phillips are competing for Baltimore’s starting left guard spot, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. The writer believes Cleveland will be given every opportunity to win the job, although he’ll have to improve his ability to stay healthy and practice well. Meanwhile, Phillips has been forced to fill in at tackle over the past two years, but the coaching staff believes he has the skills to contribute at the position.
  • J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards didn’t see the field last season, but Harbaugh indicated that both of his RBs are trending in the right direction as they look to make their return. “You talk to J.K., he’s the starting running back today, he should’ve been practicing today,” Harbaugh said (via Brown). “But he’s got work to do still, so does Gus. But they’re both I think doing great. We’ll see how they look when they come back.”
  • The head coach also spoke highly of the team’s healthy running backs, a grouping that includes free agent addition Mike Davis and rookie sixth-round pick Tyler Badie. “[I’m] very positive about Mike Davis,” Harbaugh said. “He shows up as a veteran running back. [He’s] quick, has really good vision, and he’s always been a good receiving running back, but when you see it in person, it kind of opens your eyes. I’ll say, Tyler Badie, too, is a receiving running back. These guys kind of jumped out that way in these camps.”
  • Before letting go of defensive tackle Derek Wolfe with an injury settlement, the Ravens had been operating as if they wouldn’t have the veteran on the field this season, per Zrebiec. After signing a three-year extension last offseason, Wolfe suffered a back injury that ultimately cost him the entire 2021 season. January hip surgery led to retirement talk, and Wolfe recently revealed that he had undergone another hip surgery later in the offseason. As Zrebiec notes, the team made plenty of moves to assure they wouldn’t be relying on the veteran, including the re-signing of Calais Campbell, using a third-round pick on Travis Jones, and signing veteran Brent Urban.

Ravens Notes: Wagner, Dobbins, Edwards

The Ravens tried to sign LB Bobby Wagner, the former Seahawks star who was released by Seattle last month. On March 28, we heard that Baltimore had submitted an offer that it believed was “very competitive” vis-à-vis the proposal that Wagner received from the Rams, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported yesterday that the Ravens had offered a two-year, $18MM contract.

At first blush, that looks to be a far cry from the five-year, $50MM deal Wagner ultimately signed with Los Angeles. But we are still awaiting details on the structure of that agreement, and Florio hears that Wagner will get paid $17MM over the first two years of the deal, with “small guarantees” in the second year. If that’s the case, then the Ravens’ offer — the structure of which is also unknown — may well have been as competitive as the team thought. Perhaps Wagner, an LA native, simply wanted to stay home and play for the defending champions.

Baltimore, meanwhile, has now had near misses with Wagner and Za’Darius Smith in recent weeks, leaving the club with plenty of work still to do in the front seven.

Now for several more items out of Charm City:

  • The Ravens’ 2021 fortunes were severely undermined by injury, including season-ending ACL tears suffered by running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards before Week 1. Head coach John Harbaugh recently told reporters, including Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, that both players are making progress, but that they will likely start this year’s training camp on the active/PUP list (Twitter link). Given how important Dobbins and Edwards are to Baltimore’s run-oriented attack, it makes sense that the team would play it safe with the top two members of its RB depth chart.
  • The Ravens have hired Kerry Dixon as their assistant quarterbacks coach, per a team announcement. This will be Dixon’s first NFL gig. The former Baylor and Hampton quarterback spent the past 15 seasons as a collegiate assistant, and he served as Georgia Tech’s wide receivers coach from 2019-21. He will team with James Urban to get the most out of star passer Lamar Jackson, whose contract status remains one of the biggest storylines in Baltimore.
  • Even if Smith had followed through on his commitment to the Ravens, Baltimore may have been eyeing an edge rusher with its first-round pick (No. 14 overall) in this year’s draft. With Smith out of the picture, GM Eric DeCosta may be even more inclined to enhance his pass rush, and polarizing prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux is on the team’s radar.
  • Harbaugh, now the third-longest-tenured HC in the league, recently signed an extension that will keep him on the Ravens’ sidelines through the 2025 season.