The Baltimore Ravens have a history of success running the football;it has been their identity and culture since the beginning. From Jamal Lewis, Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, Justin Forsett, and now, Alex Collins.
Collins was a surprise story last year. The team picked the tailback up off waivers, and with an injury to Terrance West, Collins eventually stole the limelight.
Through the early parts of the 2017 campaign, the Ravens’ offense was in a funk. The offensive line was struggling thanks to injuries sidelining both Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda. The passing game couldn’t get into sync with quarterback Joe Flacco struggling after missing all of training camp with a herniated disc. Baltimore didn’t have a rushing attack with injuries to West, Danny Woodhead, and Kenneth Dixon. When Collins entered the fray, things changed.
Flacco played better, the offensive line formed a solid unit, and Collins led a rushing attack which finished 11th in the NFL. Collins finished the year with 973 rushing yards on 212 attempts and six touchdowns. Entering 2018, he expects to shoulder the load more often. Collins stated to BaltimoreRavens.com’s Garrett Downing:
“My intensity stays the same when I’m coming out there, but [an increased work role] helps a lot. But at the end of the day, my mindset, I’m 110%, and just getting opportunities and getting more plays, it makes me feel good.”
Despite his introduction last year, Collins has a lot to prove. He will either prove to be a Ravens feature back the franchise hasn’t had since Rice, or he struggles and the team might have to search for a running back next year. What benefits Baltimore when it comes to Collins is after only one season as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, the team waived him. While their running game continues to struggle post-Marshawn lynch, Collins showed Seattle they made the wrong choice.
Can Collins continue to show the Seahawks they were wrong to cut him? We’ll see. Either way, Collins, Javorius Allen, and Dixon look to improve on a rushing attack that was one of the best in the league last year. A big workload for Collins will lead the way, but the guys behind him can be very productive as well.