He played sparingly in the Ravens’ regular season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night, only carrying the ball twice for five yards. He did see the field for nearly half of Baltimore’s special teams snaps, a major reason why the team signed him in the first place.
But in a somewhat surprising move, the Ravens cut Cannon on Tuesday, temporarily leaving them with only two running backs on their active roster.
Ravens Promote Freeman to 53-Man Roster
After cutting Cannon on Tuesday, the Ravens elevated former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to their 53-man roster today, a move first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and later confirmed by the league’s official transaction report.
Freeman was added to the practice squad last week to help the Ravens cope with their running back woes, but he remained inactive for Monday night’s game. His promotion signals the Ravens feel that the two-time Pro Bowler is ready to assume a role in their offense.
The seven-year veteran has struggled with injuries over the past three seasons, but when healthy, he can be an effective asset as a rusher and pass-catcher out of the backfield, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and 7.9 yards per reception over his career.
After his addition to the active roster, Freeman is expected to play on Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Ravens offense with Lamar Jackson under center has yielded strong results for running backs. In 2019 and 2020, two Ravens RBs finished in among league’s top-10 players in terms of yards per carry.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport explained earlier today how Freeman could revitalize his career in Baltimore.
Ravens’ OC Explains RB Usage
Many fans questioned the Ravens’ deployment of their running backs on Monday night, noting that Ty’Son Williams had only two carries in the second half after excelling during the first half, including a highlight touchdown run, the first of his career.
Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman addressed the issue after practice today, saying, “We’re not going to put in one back and have him play the whole game. Those days are over. We’re going to rotate guys in and out,” per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
With Freeman now in the mix, the Ravens will likely repeat their committee approach against the Chiefs, splitting snaps between Williams, Freeman and Latavius Murray.
Murray, who was signed last week, struggled on Monday night, averaging only 2.8 yards per carry, but he did add a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Ravens a late lead. He’ll look to bounce back against a Chiefs defense that allowed 153 yards to the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.