Baltimore Ravens Backfield Has a Lot of Potential for 2018

With the rise of Alex Collins and the return of Kenneth Dixon, the Baltimore Ravens’ backfield looks strong for 2018.

If the Baltimore Ravens had one problem in the 2017 season, it was their offense. At first, neither their passing offense nor their running game looked particularly inspiring.

Kenneth Dixon—arugably the most exciting running back on the team heading into the 2017 season—was out for the year with a torn meniscus, leaving Terrance West as the likely starter with Javorius Allen in on passing downs.

West is fine if unspectacular as an NFL running back, and he performed as such, logging 3.5 yards per carry and two touchdowns in four starts. But once an injury forced West out, in came Alex Collins who completely changed the Baltimore Ravens’ run game.

In just 12 starts, Collins proved he was the most dynamic runner the Ravens have had in some time. He ended up 11th in the NFL in total yards with 973, and ninth in the NFL in yards per carry with 4.6, ahead of names like Devonta Freeman, Marshawn Lynch, and just below Todd Gurley.

Collins alone would make the Ravens’ running game formidable, but Dixon’s return potentially adds another level to their game. Both Collins and Dixon are skilled, elusive runners, but Dixon brings a bit more power to his game than Collins does.

If the Baltimore Ravens elect to go for a one-two punch of Collins and Dixon (likely with a timeshare in significant favor of Collins) I could see the Ravens’ running game improving noticeably—and considering they were 11th in the NFL in total rushing last year, that could really help their offense.

And this isn’t to forget Allen, who proved himself a solid receiving running back, catching 46 balls for 250 yards and two touchdowns last year.

Joe Flacco has always liked dumping passes off to his running back—he did it a ton back in the Ray Rice days—and Allen provides him with a solid passing down option.

I don’t expect Allen to get a ton of work this upcoming season, but when you blend the elusiveness and speed of Collins with the power of Dixon (assuming he keeps his knee healthy) and the pass-catching abilities of Allen, you’ve got a pretty complete backfield.