OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Gus Edwards will take over as the starting running back for the Ravens in their Week 12 matchup against Pittsburgh — a role he's not consistently held since his rookie year.
Both Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins are out after testing positive for COVID-19. This means Edwards will have the lead role with second-year player Justice Hill as the main backup.
“Obviously, sad news to hear about that, and it’s a crazy kind of time that we’re living in," tight end Mark Andrews said about Dobbins and Ingram. "But it kind of goes with this year; there are things that are going to be thrown at you, and you have to be able to adapt. We’ve got a lot of great players on this team.
"You look at Gus and Justice, those two guys are incredible athletes, incredible players, and they’re going to do their job just fine and hold that torch and do their thing. So, there’s no worries there.”
Edwards has made the most of his limited opportunities this season, running for 376 yards on 85 carries with three touchdowns.
He's also had some of his best games against Pittsburgh.
Edwards ran through the Steelers defense for 130 yards in last year's regular-season finale. Edwards also had 87 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown in Week 8 against Pittsburgh.
Edwards has all of the confidence of his teammates that he can carry the load.
"Shoot, we have Gus," linebacker Matt Judon said. "We have other running backs on the roster. They just have to go in there and do what they have to do. I’m pretty sure that last year, the last game of the season, Gus had a pretty good game against this same defense, almost. So, it’s never about who’s not playing; it’s always about who is playing.”
Edwards spent the first four years (2013-16) of his career playing for the Miami Hurricanes and then transferred to Rutgers as a fifth-year senior in 2017. He signed with Baltimore as a rookie free agent in May 2018 and led the team with 718 rushing yards with two touchdowns on 137 carries as a rookie.
Last year, Edwards rushed for 711 yards and two touchdowns for the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense (33.2 ppg).
Edwards, who is making $750,000 this year, is a restricted free agent at the end of this season and this will be an opportunity to show he can carry the load in the backfield for Baltimore or elsewhere.
"Gus is playing at a very high level," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He’s a really physical, big back that has gotten better every year. He’s very valuable to what we do, and it’s not just limited to downhill runs. He really kind of runs everything we do, as do all our backs.
"So, we really like all our backs, and specifically, your question about Gus, he’s an ascending player. He’s doing a great job and always looking to get better. He’s a very important piece for us.”