When Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins went down with a severe knee injury that ended his 2021 campaign before it even began, one of his first peers from around the league to reach out early on in the process was New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley.
The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Penn State suffered a severe knee injury in 2020 that cut his season short after just two games. Nearly two years removed from the injury and behind a much improved offensive line, Barkley appears to be back to being his old dominant and incredibly dynamic self. Against the Tennessee Titans in a Week 1 thriller, the fifth-year pro recorded 194 yards from scrimmage which included 164 rushing on 18 carries.
Watching him score a touchdown and the go-ahead two-point conversion that wound up being the game-winning play brought joy to Dobbins’ heart for his close friend and motivated him, even more, to want to make the most of his opportunity whenever it comes.
“It’s great to see him out there doing that. I always knew he could bounce back,” Dobbins said in a press conference on September 16, 2022. “He’s been doubted by a lot of people. … Guys like us, the work ethic is amazing. He’s not going to be stopped. I feel like I can do that, too. It’s good to see him out there doing that and I pray that he keeps doing it week in and week out because that’s what I plan on doing.”
While he is not a former top-five pick like Barkley, the third-year pro is the future of the Ravens backfield nonetheless and is likely to make his 2022 debut in front of a packed home crowd for the first time in his career on Sunday, September 18, 2022, and wants to make it one to remember.
“It would be a surreal feeling just to get back out there,” Dobbins said. “In front of a full stadium, I haven’t done that yet since I’ve been in Baltimore. I know that I’ll be feeling excited and hopefully, the fans will be feeling excited as well.”
Ravens Rookie Corners Prepared For Increased Workload
While the Ravens could have three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters available for the first time this season, they could without two of their top three options with both Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stephens. They are listed as questionable after missing practice earlier in the week and could be limited even if they do play on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Even if one or neither play, the two first-year pros that the Ravens took in the fourth round of this year’s draft could and likely will be in store for more playing time on defense. Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion ‘Pepe’ Williams combined for just 16 defensive snaps in Week 1 with Williams receiving the lion’s share at 13. The team is confident in their ability to step up and hold their own against one of the most dangerous and dynamic wide receiver tandems in the league in Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill coming to two.
“They’d be ready; they look good, but they’re rookies,” head coach John Harbaugh said in a press conference on September 16, 2022. “It’d be a new experience for them, but they’ve worked hard. They’re talented guys. They’re going to be playing regardless; they’ll be out there playing in the game both on defense and special teams no matter what the numbers end up being.”
Ravens Activate 2 Players From Practice Squad
With health-related question marks at cornerback and wide receiver, the Ravens decided to activate a player at each position from their practice squad the day before their Week 2 matchup with the Dolphins.
After losing two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller and with two of their top three remaining players at the position on the roster listed as questionable to play on the final injury report, activating one of their two veteran corners to add additional depth and cover their bases is a wise decision. Roberts is a seventh-year veteran who appeared in one game with the team last season and has 54 career starts under his belt.
Third-year wideout James Proche is unlikely to play this game after missing the last two days of practice with a groin injury and being listed as doubtful on the final injury report. Webb is an undrafted rookie who has the most special teams upside of the receivers on their practice squad and showed he could make plays in passing when his number is called during the preseason.