Baltimore Ravens’ running back Javorius “Buck” Allen looks ready to seize an opportunity with Kenneth Dixon out for the year with a knee injury.
Allen ran hard throughout the third day of training camp, finding seams through Baltimore’s defensive line. Allen is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2016 season, when he was inactive for eight games. He was held to just 34 yards on nine carries and his future in Baltimore appeared in jeopardy.
“Buck is getting better everyday,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “Buck is a good football player, so we’re happy to have him on our team. He’s earned himself some reps and some time in the preseason [games]. We’ll see.”
Expectations were high for Allen as a fourth-round pick from USC in the 2015 NFL Draft. He had an encouraging rookie year, running for 514 yards with a touchdown. Allen also caught 45 passes for 353 yards with another two scores.
However, he was outplayed by Dixon last season and eventually fell out of favor with the coaches. It would be a huge boost for the Ravens if he can bounce back in 2017.
Terrance West, who has already been named the starter, also looked solid and appears ready to carry the load. He is coming off his best year as a pro, running for 774 yards with five touchdowns.
Taquan Mizzell, a rookie free agent from Virginia, has also been given opportunities and has managed some nice runs, but was stuffed in the backfield a couple of times.
Still, it would not be a surprise if the Ravens bring in another veteran running back, cut loose by another team at some point during camp.
— The offense looked much better on the third day of practice with Ryan Mallett under center. Mallett had completions over the middle to several receivers, including Chris Moore and Chris Matthews. Breshad Perriman came down with an impressive long completion on a pass that deflected off cornerback Jimmy Smith’s hands.
The Ravens used a spread offense at times to create opportunities. Mike Wallace has been solid all camp with several key receptions. Tight end Maxx Williams also stretched out for a nice grab during team drills.
— There was no update on the leg injury to Crockett Gillmore. He was not present at the third practice after being injured the previous day. If Gillmore is out for an extended period of time, the Ravens might be forced to bring in another tight end. Veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles, had a ball bounce off his chest in traffic.
Cornerback Maurice Canady, who has shown steady improvement from his rookie season, also did not practice for undisclosed reasons.
— Safety Eric Weddle had an acrobatic interception on a deep pass by Mallett today. He is a vocal leader in the secondary, taking time throughout practice to discuss plays with his teammates. Weddle is entering his 11th year in the NFL and his enthusiasm has not waned.
“I get more excited as each year passes,” Weddle said. “Who knows what the future is and how many years I have left. I try to treat each day like it’s my last. If this is my last season … Who knows what the future holds? You don’t know. I don’t know. I’m going to give everything I’ve got for my teammates and this organization to try to get us back in the playoffs and win a championship.”
— Running back Danny Woodhead is expected to bolster the offense with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Woodhead is listed at 5-feet-8, but appears at least an inch smaller. Still, he is effective dodging defenders and has shown impressive burst throughout camp. With Dixon out, Woodhead could also see his carries increase. He is ready for the extra work.
“I think whatever role I end up getting, I have to go out there and play well in order to have a role,” Woodhead said. “Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I’ll be ready for. I feel like whatever they ask me to do, I can go out and do. It’s tough – Kenny [Dixon] is a great guy.”