Ravens running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins and defensive lineman Brandon Williams have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Nov. 23 and will be unavailable for the team’s Thanksgiving night showdown at Heinz Field against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
In a statement released earlier in the day, the Ravens had announced that “multiple members” of the organization had tested positive for COVID-19, and “those individuals immediately began to self-quarantine.”
Harbaugh later confirmed that Ingram and Dobbins had tested positive and that Williams was added to the reserve/COVID-19 list as a close contact of someone who had tested positive.
The team closed its Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills Nov. 23 but reopened it later Monday. The Ravens were able to conduct team meetings and a masked walkthrough workout.
Harbaugh commended his players for observing distancing and masking protocols on the sideline and locker room areas, which he said prevented more players from being deemed close contacts.
The Ravens (6-4), coming off a 30-24 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans, visit the archrival Steelers (10-0) in a nationally televised prime-time game Thanksgiving night. Harbaugh said there has been “no movement” involving any possible rescheduling plans.
This marks the fourth game in which at least one Ravens player has been on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Williams missed the game at Philadelphia, and Marlon Humphrey was sidelined from the game at Indianapolis after testing positive. Third-string quarterback Trace McSorley was on the reserve/COVID-19 list this past weekend.
Williams also missed the Ravens’ game against Tennessee Nov. 22 with an ankle injury, and his availability had already been in question.
With Ingram and Dobbins unavailable, the Ravens have Gus Edwards and Justice Hill available at running back. Ty’Son Williams is on the practice squad and could be added as a COVID-19 roster replacement.
Dobbins, a rookie second-round draft pick, was coming off one of his strongest performances of the season, with 15 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. He also had two catches for 15 yards and caught a two-point conversion, and he received the bulk of the playing time as the Ravens went away from the running-back-by-committee approach they have used all season.
Dobbins played 41 snaps against the Titans, while Edwards played 13, Hill 7 and Ingram just 6. Ingram had been missed two games with an ankle injury and has totaled seven yards on seven carries in two games since returning to the lineup.
Dobbins had the most productive game of his young career three weeks ago against the Steelers, rushing 15 times for a career-high 113 yards in the Ravens’ 28-24 loss.
He now leads all Ravens running backs with 380 yards on 72 carries. Quarterback Lamar Jackson remains the team’s rushing leader with 575 yards on 103 carries.
With Dobbins and Ingram (57-232) sidelined, the Ravens will lean on Edwards, who has 85 carries for 376 yards. He has had success against the Steelers. Edwards ran 16 times for 87 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Steelers Nov. 1, and in the Week 17 meeting against Pittsburgh last year, Edwards had a career-best 130 yards on 21 carries.
Hill, who figures to be the No. 2 back, has not had a carry this season. Slowed early in the year by a thigh injury, he missed the first three games and has been limited to primarily special teams work this season. He has played just 17 offensive snaps this season.
Although well off their record-setting pace of a year ago, the Ravens remain the league’s No. 1-ranked rushing offense, averaging 160.5 rushing yards a game. The Ravens had already lost starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley and top blocking tight end Nick Boyle to season-ending injuries, and now they will be without two of their to three backs.
But Harbaugh expressed confidence in Edwards and the others.
“The run game is always a group effort, all 11 guys,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll run the ball on Thursday night.”
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