OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens running backs have been sort of cluttered together in training camp because of the lack of hitting.
That will change in the first preseason game against the Titans as these players will now begin separating themselves for roster spots.
"It couldn’t be much more wide open than the running back position right now," coach John Harbaugh said. "We’re going to play the guys and see who does well, and they’ve all done well in practice. And like we said, the games are big for the running backs, I think, so they’re all excited to play.”
J.K. Dobbins returned to the practice field this week from a knee injury and will retake the starting job.
However, the competition behind him is wide open.
The Ravens are not confident Gus Edwards is on the same track as Dobbins with recovering from a knee injury and he likely won't be ready for the season.
That means rookie Tyler Badie, Corey Clement, Mike Davis, Justice Hill and Nate McCrary are competing for two or perhaps three spots on the final roster.
Badie, 5-foot-8, 190 pounds, runs a lot like Ray Rice. He also is adept at catching the ball out of the back and dodging potential tacklers. The Ravens could try to stash him on the practice squad but there is a serious risk another team will pick him up.
“Tyler is a great back," Hill said. "He comes to work every single day, and it’s going to be exciting to see what we all do in the preseason, especially him, too. And so, he’s a great guy, just [as] a person in general, and a great running back, as well.”
The wildcard could be Clement, who spent four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before signing with the Dallas Cowboys last year. He has rushed for 795 yards and seven touchdowns over his five-year career.
"A pro’s pro," running backs coach Craig Ver Steeg said. "Some of those guys we brought in last year, just think back to them and how they handled a tough situation. He is, ‘Day One, coach put me in. Put me in all of it.’ [He] gets it, and studies at night. He knows how to adapt to an offense. So, the things he brings to the game already, you can see his power, you can see his quickness, he’s got really good pass protection ability.
"On top of that, he’s a really accomplished special teams guy in this league. So, he brings a nice veteran element to the room, and really a pro’s pro approach to preparation, which is excellent.”