Ravens veteran RB Mark Ingram has fully embraced the mentor role for rookie J.K. Dobbins

first_imgThe Ravens believe in taking the ‘best playeravailable model’ as their first commandment when it comes to the draft even ifthat player is at a position of strength over selecting a lesser player at aposition of need. Many thought the Ravens were going to take a wide receiver oran edge rusher at the spot that they took Dobbins, but they were both surprisedand delighted when he was available when they were on the clock. “He’s a great young back,” said Ingram. “He had agreat career at Ohio State. That’s what this league is all about. Especiallyrunning backs, being able to pay the game forward. I had guys that paid thegame forward to me so just being able to pass the game down, pass knowledgedown, anything he wants to know I’m there to help him, I’m there to supporthim.” The Ravens ran the ball more and with greaterefficiency than any team not just in 2019 but in league history. That’s 100years in case you were wondering. They ran for 3,296 yards without Dobbins’game-breaking ability as part of the equation. With him rounding out the alreadybeastly position group, the Ravens have all the horses they need field anotherelite ground game in 2020 with Ingram leading the way. His smash-mouth “big boy no little boy” running stylewas the perfect complement to Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s electrifyinglyelusive rushing ability during his MVP campaign. He was the tone-setter forBaltimore’s offense and helped establish a rhythm and build up insurmountableleads in many of their league-leading 14 wins last season. Many were surprised when the Baltimore Ravens, who hadthe most dominant rushing attack in league history that rewrote NFL andfranchise record books, fortified a position group that was already atremendous strength and had great depth by selecting Ohio State running backJ.K. Dobbins with the 55th overall pick in this past April’s draft. However,veteran running back Mark Ingram wasn’t among the masses. We’ve been talking over the offseason, we’re finallyin the building together so that chemistry will keep getting stronger and I’llkeep helping him,” said Ingram. Dobbins reached out Ingram shortly after being draftedby the Ravens and the two have been in constant communication ever since andare both elated to finally be in the same building together after a virtual offseasonprogram where their position meetings were conducted via Zoom. Despite having Ingram under contact for the next twoseasons and showing no signs of attrition after nearly a decade in the league,having the equally as hardnosed running Gus ‘The Bus’ Edwards who has eclipsed700 yards rushing in back to back season and drafting change of pace backJustice Hill in the fourth round out of Oklahoma State last year, the Ravenscouldn’t pass up a talent like Dobbins who they and many others had a latefirst-round grade on in the middle of the second.center_img “I’ve been in the league 10 years and I’ve never seena team that didn’t either bring in a running back or draft a running back,”said Ingram. “It’s the norm so it didn’t surprise me and I think that it was ahigh-value pick right there where we were at “You’re only as strong as your weakest link so you tryto bring everybody along, you try to have everybody play at a high level,everybody competing at a high level.” Ingram signed with the Ravens in free agency lastMarch on a respectable three-year deal worth $15 million. The formerfirst-round pick of the New Orleans Saints was a smashing hit in his firstseason in Baltimore. In addition to recording his third 1,000 plus yard seasonin the last four years, scoring a career-high 15 touchdowns fromscrimmage—tying a Ravens franchise record—and earning the third Pro Bowl nod ofhis career, Ingram became an instant fan favorite and one of the most prominentleaders in the locker room. Entering his 10th season in the league and set to turn31 in December, it’d be understandable if a veteran player like Ingram would bemiffed by their selection of his successor after he had such a great firstseason with the team and reluctant to share his secrets of the trade and thekey to his longevity at a position where the average shelf life is the shortestof any position in the league. Nope, not Ingram. He has sincerely and whole-heartedlyembraced the role of a mentor to the gifted rookie that his hungry and eager toeat into his snap count and isn’t taking the patient approach to his firstseason. Ingram sees it as his duty to impart wisdom and any tricks of the tradethat he’s learned over the years to the younger generation of running backs inthe way that was done to and for him. “We run the ball a lot. We put emphasis on running theball,” said Ingram. “Being able to have our backfield, me, Gus, Justice, add JKto the mix, I think its an elite backfield of guys who I think can startanywhere in this league, play anywhere in this league. We’ll be competing,we’ll be working, and we’ll be working together to have the best rushing attackagain.”Please follow and like us:last_img read more