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Dixon’s injury won’t cripple the Ravens offense

Kenneth Dixon’s injury won’t cripple the Ravens offense. The bigger worry is after suffering two major injuries in his first two seasons if he will ever be able to stay healthy.

Kenneth Dixon undergoing season-ending surgery for a torn meniscus will hurt the Ravens offense, but it is not the end of the world. While Dixon has been viewed as the future at the position for the Ravens, Terrance West has shown he is very much a capable back. And it is West, who was expected to be the starter this season anyway while newly signed Danny Woodhead would get the bulk of third down work.

With Dixon’s injury and loss, the Ravens agreed to terms with Bobby Rainey, who played for the team in 2013, before bouncing around between a few teams over the next five seasons. The 29-year-old experienced his most success in Tampa Bay, where in 40 games he made 11 starts and rushed for 956 yards, six touchdowns and caught 47 passed for 358 yards and three more scores. However, despite being given opportunities, he never was able to take over as the lead back for the Buccaneers. Last year he was with the New York Giants.

Also in the Ravens backfield ate former fourth round draft picks Buck Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro, an undrafted free agent Taquan Mizzell, a prospect out of Virginia who impressed the Ravens during minicamps.

Allen showed some decent ability as a rookie, totaling 867 yards from scrimmage offensively with three touchdowns, but he had a terrible second season, running the ball only nine times for 34 yards and catching only three passes for 15 yards. Allen showed almost no ability to fight through traffic when running between the tackles. But, he will certainly be out to prove that he is better than that.

Taliaferro earned some solid playing time as a rookie in 2014 but has been plagued by injuries his entire career. He started last season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. This offseason the bulldozer moved to fullback, but could still see time as a runner.

But again, the keys will be West and Woodhead. West was very effective last season when the Ravens committed to running with him. Poor play calling and a lack of commitment to the running game seemed to be more of a problem with the team’s offense than his individual play. He had 774 yards and five touchdowns rushing on 193 carries in his debut season with the Ravens, averaging just over four yards per carry. With a full workload as the primary back, he could be more effective in 2017. Considering he in a split backfield for over half the season in an offense that did not commit to the run, it doesn’t seem outrageous to see West topping 1,000 yards this year if given the opportunity.

Woodhead does have the worry of being 34-years-old and coming off a torn ACL, but he does have a good track record of being one of the better pass catching backs in the NFL, coming to an offense that likes to check down in the passing game. West and Woodhead seem like they will compliment each other perfectly as a tandem.

And there still are veteran running backs like DeAngelo Williams and Rashad Jennings out there looking to get with new teams that need running backs. The Ravens certainly are not crippled because of this injury.

Dixon is a talented runner and showed excellent flashes last year both in the preseason and after he came back from a torn MCL. The bigger concern now might now be how this year’s group will perform, but how it will look in the future with West in a contract year, Woodhead at an elevated age, especially for a running back, and only disappointing draft picks behind them. Dixon seemed on track to take over the position full-time at some point. However, with two big injuries in his first two years (combined with the PED suspension that was set to make him miss the first four games of this season), perhaps the heavy mileage he accumulated in college is starting to take a toll on him. An injury prone label is often a death sentence for a running back’s professional career.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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