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.