OWINGS MILLS - Will rookie Kenneth Dixon provide the spark that the Ravens’ rushing attack needs?
Dixon is moving closer to returning from his knee injury, after practicing Wednesday on a limited basis. No definite timetable has been given for Dixon’s return, but to say the Ravens have been eager to get him back would be an understatement.
Without Dixon the first three games, the Ravens have struggled to run the football, with a rushing attack that ranks 26th in the NFL. While Terrance West has averaged 3.6 yards per carry and Justin Forsett has averaged 3.2, Dixon led the Ravens during the preseason averaging 4.9. He showed acceleration, ability to make people miss, and sure hands – all the qualities that convinced the Ravens to draft him in the fourth round.
Dixon is just as eager to come back as the Ravens are to have him.
“I’m just working really hard, as hard as I can to get back,” Dixon said. “If it’s this week, it’s this week. If it’s next week, it’s next week.
“I can’t wait to get out there and show what I can do in the offense. I feel like I can do a lot of things well in this offense – getting the ball and running downhill, catching the ball out of the backfield, making a guy miss, probably taking it to distance. I’m just ready to get back out there and see what I can do.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh doesn’t want expectations to get out of hand for Dixon, and the Ravens must also block better to run better. However, nobody is denying Dixon’s talent.
“He can provide another running back that can tote the ball pretty good,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll just have to find out. He’s a rookie, so I think a lot of what he can provide is yet to be determined. He showed flashes in preseason, which was exciting. I think we’re all excited about what he might do. We’ll just have to see. That will be fun to see.”
When Dixon returns, it will be interesting to see how playing time is divided among Forsett, West, Dixon, and Buck Allen, who has yet to be activated for a game. But the Ravens need to improve their rushing attack, regardless of who makes it happen. Barring a setback with his knee, Dixon should be getting his chance soon.
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