J.K. Dobbins is set to miss another season through injury, but the Baltimore Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh feel secure with who else they have at running back. Especially since the team stashed a veteran of two Pro Bowls on the practice squad.
The Ravens “are currently planning to activate RB Melvin Gordon” in the wake of Dobbins tearing his Achilles against the Houston Texans in Week 1, according to CBS Sports’ NFL Insider Josina Anderson.
Gordon was released on Tuesday, August 29, but he soon returned to the practice squad after rejecting three other teams, including the Miami Dolphins. His return has proved handy following Dobbins suffering his second major injury blow after tearing his ACL and LCL just prior to the 2021 campaign.
Turning back to Gordon is part of Harbaugh’s declared intention to stick with what the Ravens already have in the backfield, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: “We’re good. I like the guys we got.”
It’s something of a risk to stand still after Dobbins’ latest setback, but the Ravens are well stocked with some intriguing runners. Adding a proven commodity like Gordon to the mix will mitigate the risk of not entering the sweepstakes for a bluechip back like Indianapolis Colts’ All-Pro Jonathan Taylor, who remains the subject of trade rumors.
John Harbaugh Talks Up Incumbent 1,000-yd Rusher
Harbaugh explained why he’s delighted to have kept Gordon in the fold, per Hensley: “He’s here for a reason and certainly didn’t expect it to be this quick, but that’s why he’s here and that’s why he wanted to stay here. He’s a proven back, so I’m very, very glad that he’s here.”
The key word Harbaugh used was “proven.” Gordon qualifies as such thanks to rushing for 1,105 yards for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017. He’s also topped the 900-yard mark three other times during his career, most recently in 2020 and ’21 with the Denver Broncos.
What Gordon has done consistently is find the end zone. As StatMuse pointed out, the 30-year-old is one of only three active players around the NFL to have scored 10-plus touchdowns in five or more seasons.
Gordon’s ability to find pay-dirt is invaluable, as is his comfort as a receiver. The latter is evidenced by career tallies of 309 catches for 2,467 yards.
Ravens’ offensive coordinator Todd Monken will work Gordon into his more expansive system, but the play-caller would also be smart to keep carries for Dobbins’ other notable deputies.
Ravens RB Committee Still Strong
Even without Gordon, things still looked strong for the Ravens’ running game. The strength comes from what Gus Edwards and Justice Hill produced against the Texans.
Hill’s acceleration and nose for the end zone should dovetail well with Edwards’ power between the tackles. They form a solid one-two punch, but their efforts may not be enough to make Ravens fans forget about Taylor.
The 2021 rushing champion wants out of Indy, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport believes trade talks will resume. Significantly, Rapoport mentioned the Dolphins as being likely to revisit a deal after previously having “extensive talks” with the Colts, but he also noted how “there also could be another high-quality RB-needy team that emerges if an injury occurs or a player doesn’t quite perform as expected.”
The Ravens fit the description after losing Dobbins again, but Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta have reasons to be wary about a trade. Notably, only having $4,514,639 worth of space to work with under the salary cap, according to Spotrac.com.
It will be more cost effective for the Ravens to believe in the backs they have for the remainder of the season. Particularly with somebody as productive as Gordon now in the fold.
James Dudko covers the New York Giants, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens for Heavy.com. He has covered the NFL and world soccer since 2011, with bylines at FanSided, Prime Time Sports Talk and Bleacher Report before joining Heavy in 2021. More about James Dudko
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