If the 2018 NFL season gave us any hints as to what the future would bring, it would suggest that the Baltimore Ravens will surely build their offense around their run game for the foreseeable future. If you couldn’t tell based off of quarterback Lamar Jackson rushing for nearly 700 yards in just seven starts, then maybe it was Mark Ingram’s three year $15 million deal.
Those kinds of digits maybe seem trivial when compared to the contracts of Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley, but Ingram’s role with Baltimore will be one that is just as important. What the Ravens are currently building on offense is kind of fascinating given today’s NFL. Nearly every single offense in the league is looking for a quarterback to throw 50 times a game yet, Baltimore would rather take an old school approach.
When Jackson took over at quarterback the offense averaged 45 rushing attempts per game as opposed to 26 when Joe Flacco was the starter. Todays NFL would tell you that this is a recipe for disaster when in fact it was the opposite. Baltimore went on to finish the season 6-1 after a 4-5 start along with a division crown. So going into the offseason, the front office looked to try and find the best tools to help build their offense. That’s where Ingram comes in.
Despite putting up impressive rushing numbers to end the season, the Ravens backfield was definitely one by committee. Not only did Jackson have to make up most of the rushing yards, but Alex Collins and Gus Edwards are decent backs but not a pair you’d want headlining your offense. But if the past few years have proved anything, it’s that Ingram can definitely be a workhorse.
Since 2016 Ingram has rushed for 2,812 yards and 24 touchdowns in the New Orleans Saints offense. Not to mention this production also came with him splitting time with Alvin Kamara. Now that the former Heisman Trophy winner is headed to the AFC North, he brings a higher profile to the backfield. Even if the plan is still to split time with Edwards, Ingram has proved that he is willing to do so and won’t have an attitude. He’s also proved that he can thrive in a situation like that.
If Ingram can come in and replicate the production he’s been able to have with the Saints, then it will only help the development of Jackson. A lot of the pressure and hits will be absorbed by Ingram and it will also open up easier opportunities for Jackson to throw. Even with an offense that looks like it’s copied and pasted out of the 1970s, you still need a quarterback to be able to throw from time to time and Ingram can only help.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77