Ravens veteran RB Mark Ingram believes the offense can break even more rushing records
The Baltimore Ravens produced the most dominant rushing attack in the entire 100-year history of the NFL in 2019. While Offensive Coordinator and ground and pound savant was the architect behind the prolific run-based offense, quarterback Lamar Jackson was the engine that made it go and allowed them to shatter several long-standing records.
In addition to Jackson breaking the single-season rushing record for a quarterback that was previously held by his childhood idol Michael Vick with his team-leading 1,206 yards, the team as a whole broke the single-season team rushing record that stood for over four decades with their collective 3,296 yards in 16 games.
Before the 2019 Ravens came around, breaking the 1978 New England Patriots’ 41-year old record was thought to be unachievable because of the emphasis put on airing the ball out in today’s modern NFL and the proliferation of prolific passing attacks. However, as incredible and as last season was for the offense, Ravens veteran running back Mark Ingram believes that this year’s team is equipped to achieve even higher heights in 2020.
“We have a great group of guys in the running back room, we have a great offensive line, great coordinators,” Ingram said. “We broke the record last year. We’re trying to improve. We’ll be doing everything we can to try to top that mark this year. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, a lot of execution. But we’re looking forward to it.”
Baltimore’s already loaded backfield that consisted of Ingram, former undrafted gem Gus ‘The Bus’ Edwards, and 2019 fourth-rounder Justice Hill got even deeper and more beastly this offseason with the addition of rookie J.K. Dobbins who was drafted in the second round out of Ohio State in this year’s draft.
Ingram is looking as good as ever and is still slated to be the lead back heading into his 10th season, Dobbins has All-Pro potential and there’s still the threat of what Jackson can do with his legs. Taking all of that into account, the Ravens are set up nicely to make another run at not only breaking their own rushing record but also making a deep run into the playoffs after an early exit last year.
Sunday’s season opener will feature another talented group of running backs when the Cleveland Browns come to town for an AFC North showdown. Some believe they have the best backfield in the league with the Pro Bowl tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt spearheading the ground attack of first-year Head Coach Kevin Stefanski but Ingram is out to prove otherwise.
“There’s always some battles within the battles,” Ingram said. “Obviously, we want to prove we’re the best running back room in the league. I always have a chip on my shoulder and a burning desire to prove I’m one of the best running backs in the league. That’s something that never leaves. We respect Chubb and Hunt, the Browns, and their run game. But we believe in our room.”
Since there wasn’t a preseason this year or any semblance of a regular offseason program for teams league-wide due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are some that believe that defenses will begin the year a bit flat-footed out of the gates, opening the door for a similar offensive explosion that we saw when 2011 season got underway following a lockout.
With less time to prepare and only a little over a month of training camp practices to gear up for the rigors of what we all hope will be a full regular season and postseason, the Ravens could very well get off to a hot enough start to shatter their own record and run their way to a championship.
Nobody thought Vick’s record would be broken until Jackson came around and it became clear about midway through last season that it was well within reach for the Ravens star quarterback during his MVP campaign. However, Jackson wouldn’t be surprised if it was broken again by another ascending talent or if he did it again himself since he’s only heading into his third season with plenty of years of production left ahead of him.
“There’s a lot of great players up and coming and I’m still playing right now, so you never know,” Jackson said.