After breaking the NFL’s single-season rushing record last season, the Ravens have the potential to be even better.
At least that’s the sentiment of running back Mark Ingram.
“We expect to be the best in the league,” Ingram told the NFL Network. “That’s our standard. Every time we step on the field, we want to be the best running back group. We broke the rushing record last year. You know, that would be a lot to go and attain again, but we’re going for it.
“We’re going to shoot for it. We have the players to do it. In order to win championships, you have to add great players. I think we did that this offseason, so we’re looking forward to the season.”
The Ravens ran for an NFL record 3,296 yards on a league-high 596 carries last season. All three running backs from last season — Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill — are back in the mix this season. General manager Eric DeCosta added another weapon by selecting Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round of this year’s draft.
Lamar Jackson led the way with 1,206 yards rushing, the most by a quarterback in NFL single-season history, on 176 carries. Ingram was second on the team with 1,018 yards on 202 carries, followed by Edwards (711 yards on 133 carries) and Hill (225 yards on 58 carries).
The Ravens didn’t need to add another running back but Dobbins was just too big of a talent to pass up when he fell to them with 55th overall pick. Ideally, Jackson doesn’t run the ball close to 200 times and the Ravens can spread out those carries to the backfield.
Dobbins has the talent to make an immediate impact.
“I think with our offense we want to add as many talented guys as we can at skill positions,” DeCosta said. “You guys have watched us over the last couple years and specifically last year, and we’re a team that likes to run the football. So, having running backs is really, really important. This was a guy that was, in my opinion, one of the very best in college football this year.”
Dobbins is a humble person and is looking forward to learning behind Ingram, who will enter the season as the starter. In addition, Dobbins represents the future of the franchise at running back, but he’s willing to adjust to any role in his first year.
“Joining Mark Ingram II, I always watched him,” Dobbins said. “He’s a great player, and I can learn a lot from him, I believe. It’s a blessing to be on this team, and I just want to soak it all in. Just learn from everyone, and try to come in and just do my job.”
In the end, the Ravens’ offense runs through Jackson, who is the reigning NFL MVP. Jackson admitted he would like to run less and get the ball into the hands of the other playmakers, but he’s willing to do whatever possible to win games.
So, if that means running 20 times, then so be it. Ingram predicts the league is going to see a different Jackson this season — better than the previous two years.
“You saw the jump Mahomes had from his second to the third year, the way he was comfortable with his team, the way he’s comfortable in himself, being a leader, being a playmaker,” Ingram said “I see that same jump for Lamar. Man, he’s special. He has all the tools, all of the intangibles to be great to be the MVP again.”