Despite losing three running backs to season-ending injuries in the preseason, the Baltimore Ravens have received trade inquiries regarding their makeshift backfield, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Ravens entered the 2021 season with two of the NFL’s 2020 leaders in yards per carry in J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, with Justice Hill serving as an excellent utility back on special teams and in pass protection.
But all three suffered season-ending injuries before the regular season even started, forcing the Ravens to sign three former 1,000-yard rushers–Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell to join undrafted free agent Ty’Son Williams in the running back room.
Williams received the most carries in the Ravens’ first two games, but seems to have fallen out of favor, receiving a healthy scratch for the Ravens’ Week 3 matchup with the Denver Broncos.
Murray has since taken the season lead in carries with mixed results. He’s only averaging 3.4 yards per carry, but has found the end zone in three of the Ravens’ four games.
Freeman broke off a 31-yard run for his first rushing attempt as a Raven, but has only received five carries since, gaining 10 yards.
Bell made his Ravens debut last week in Denver, only gaining 11 yards on four touches, but he showed flashes of his ability to be an impact player in Baltimore’s offense.
Head coach John Harbaugh was especially happy with Bell’s pass protection against the Broncos, telling media on October 4, “He made a couple guys miss, I thought he did well.”
Unclear Which RB Could Be On Trade Block
The preseason injuries forced the Ravens to enter the regular season without a single running back that had taken a regular season carry for the Ravens in a previous season. As a result, even the coaching staff isn’t entirely sure how the backs fit into their short-term and long-term plans.
“The clarity is that they all can play. That’s probably as clear as we are right now. We just have to figure out how they fit together offensively,” said Harbaugh.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman struck a similar chord with his remarks on Friday.
“We like all of them. They all have slightly different styles. And we’re starting to learn more about each one,” said Roman, per Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun.
Ravens Activate Boykin From IR
Le’Veon Bell was not activated from the practice squad for tonight’s game, so the Ravens will move forward with a Williams-Murray-Freeman backfield against the Indianapolis Colts.
Instead, the Ravens spent their two practice squad elevations for tonight’s game on offensive tackle Andre Smith and defensive back Jordan Richards, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.
Last week, Smith stepped in at left tackle for an injured Alejandro Villanueva, who is expected to suit up tonight. Richards will provide depth for the secondary and special teams, with safeties DeShon Elliott and Geno Stone ruled out against the Colts.
Rookie wideout Rashod Bateman will not play, despite encouraging progress at practice this week, but third-year receiver Miles Boykin will make his season debut after being activated from injured reserve.
Undrafted rookie Ar’Darius Washington will also make his NFL debut, hoping to bolster an injured Baltimore secondary.