BALTIMORE — The Ravens have been the NFL's most dominant running team over the past three years.
However, a slew of injuries has forced them to make adjustments.
This season, the Ravens had the league's fourth-ranked passing offense and ninth-ranked running attack heading into the bye.
However, the team needs the running game to perform better to keep the offense revved up.
“I think their deep coverage is pushing out pretty deep, and the linebackers are playing play-action because they’ve seen it a lot, so they’re recognizing it pretty well and playing it," coach John Harbaugh said. "If you don’t run the ball really well, your play-action pass doesn’t get as much respect. So, it all goes together. You have to run the ball to throw the play-action; you have to hit passes and spread them out to run the ball. Executing across the board makes everything better, and we have to get better.”
The Ravens have a solid running game largely because of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who leads the team with 480 yards.
The Ravens are not getting much production out of their current group of running backs. Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell are averaging 3.7 yards per carry. Murray does run hard and leads this group with 212 yards despite missing a game because of an injury.
Of course, the running attack was going to struggle after the team lost all three players on its depth chart — J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill — to injuries in training camp. However, the performance will need to improve over the second half of the season.
“We have to run it better. We have to block it better. We have to scheme it better," Harbaugh said.
The wide receivers have been dominant.
Marquise Brown leads the Ravens with 566 yards receiving with six touchdowns. He's also been targeted a team-high 57 times and has 37 receptions.
Over two games, rookie Rashod Bateman has seven receptions for 109 yards. Sammy Watkins has dealt with a thigh injury but leads the team with 16.2 yards per reception. Overall, Watkins has 18 receptions on 32 targets for 292 yards. Tight end Mark Andrews is having a Pro-Bowl caliber season and Patrick Ricard has dominated opponents.
Now, the Ravens need the running backs and wide receivers to compliment each other.