Sports

Ravens RB depth chart: Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins COVID-19 cases mean Gus Edwards, Justice Hill feature vs. Steelers

The Ravens love to run the football, but Baltimore will be without two of its top rushing options in Week 12 against the Steelers.

Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins are both out due to positive COVID-19 tests. That leaves Gus Edwards and Justice Hill atop the running back depth chart for a matchup with Pittsburgh’s strong defense. With Lamar Jackson out, too, and Robert Griffin III starting in his place, Baltimore’s run-heavy attack will have a very different look. Whether it works against the stout Steelers could come down to the performances of Edwards and Hill.

Here’s what you need to know about Edwards and Hill, who present different rushing styles for Pittsburgh to worry about, along with who else could play a part in Baltimore’s rotation-happy backfield.

MORE: How COVID-19 tests are impacting Steelers-Ravens

Why are Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins out in Week 12?

Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters Monday, Nov. 23 that Baltimore’s top two running backs, Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, both tested positive for COVID-19. Each player was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list.

The running backs both have to quarantine for 10 days due to NFL policy, meaning they couldn’t originally play in Week 12’s game against the Steelers scheduled for Thanksgiving night. Once it was moved back three times to Wednesday, Ingram and Dobbins were technically available, but they weren’t activated after such a long layoff. They could be back for Week 13 against the Cowboys. 

“Sad news to hear about that,” Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews, who later was added to the COVID-19 list himself, told ESPN about Ingram and Dobbins’ positive tests. “It’s a crazy kind of time that we’re living in. It kind of goes with this year. There’s going to be things thrown at you, and you have to adapt.”

Who is Gus Edwards?

Edwards is one of the bigger tailbacks you’ll find in the National Football League: 6-1 and 238 pounds. His running style is about what you’d expect, a downhill bruiser who frequently pounds the rock between the tackles, and it’s rightly earned him the nickname “Gus Bus.”

After spending time in college at both Miami (FL) and Rutgers, Edwards went undrafted in 2018. He’s played a key depth role in all three of his NFL seasons, surpassing 700 yards in both 2018 and 2019 as a complementary back to Jackson and Ingram.

When he’s gotten starts in his career, Edwards has shown he can be effective. He’s been a starter on 10 separate occasions so far in the NFL, and he’s topped 75 yards seven of those times. All but one of those times Edwards saw double-digit carries, so it’s safe to expect him to be Baltimore’s workhorse in Week 12.

Edwards’ career-high rushing yardage total came, coincidentally, against the Steelers. It was in Week 17 of 2019 with a lot of starters out, so it can be taken with a grain of salt, but Edwards ran for 130 yards on 21 carries that day.

Who is Justice Hill?

Hill received a lot of hype before his rookie 2019 season. He’d just been a fourth-round selection out of Oklahoma State, and he brought something different than Ingram or Edwards — Hill is shifty and a pass-catching back.

There weren’t a ton of chances to break through as a rookie for Hill, though, as he saw 58 carries and eight catches while often watching on the sideline as Baltimore’s ground-and-pound attack went on without him. Hill also saw a lot of work in that Week 17 game against the Steelers, rushing 10 times for 39 yards and a touchdown

It was as a sophomore at Oklahoma State that Hill really showed out, rushing for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns while catching another 31 passes for 190 yards and a score. He didn’t put up such big numbers as a junior, but he’d already proven he was ready for the NFL.

Hill will likely fill JK Dobbins’ speed-back role while Dobbins is out. Hill might not have quite the strong lower half of Dobbins, but the rookie from Ohio State has definitely taken away some opportunities from Hill in his second NFL season. Week 12 will be a chance for Hill to show he still deserves a chance with Baltimore.

Ravens emergency RB options

The Ravens are a team that’ll run the football until the game ends, almost no matter what. Griffin will see some carries himself, but Baltimore often works with three or four running backs in rotation on a weekly basis. So it’s likely we’ll see more than just Edwards and Hill hanging out in the backfield with Jackson. Here’s who else might get carries:

  • Ty’Son Williams: Williams began Week 12 on the Ravens’ practice squad, but he’ll likely be elevated for Week 12. A rookie, Williams’ next NFL touch will be his first. He spent time in college at North Carolina, South Carolina and BYU, and he never ran for more than 471 yards in a college season.
  • Devin Duvernay: The slot receiver and return man has carried the ball twice for 41 yards and a score in his rookie season out of Texas. He at least fits the mold as a player that could line up in the backfield if everyone else was injured. 
  • The Ravens could also have quarterbacks Trace McSorley or Tyler Huntley active, both of whom could operate as de facto Wildcat rushers in an emergency.

What's your reaction?

Excited
0
Happy
0
In Love
0
Not Sure
0
Silly
0

You may also like

More in:Sports

Leave a reply