Sun, 24 Oct 2021

Latavius Murray Is Bringing a Hammer to Ravens' Rushing Attack

Baltimore Ravens
23 Sep 2021, 05:25 GMT+10

Ryan Mink

He doesn't have a catchy nickname like Gus "The Bus" yet, but Latavius Murray is certainly bringing a bulldozing element to the Ravens offense.

In two games, Murray has two touchdowns - rumbling in from 8 yards out against the Las Vegas Raiders and 5 yards out versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

Considering he didn't join the team until three days before he stepped onto the field in Las Vegas, it's not a bad start for the 6-foot-3, 230-pound veteran. And his success in the red zone certainly doesn't surprise quarterback Lamar Jackson.

"That's a strong guy, huge guy. People don't want to tackle man, I'm not going to lie to you," Lamar Jackson said. "You all see it. They were iffy when they see him up getting up close. He's a huge guy. I wouldn't want to tackle him either."

Jackson is the team's leading rusher with 193 yards - the third-most in the league through two weeks. With J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards out with season-ending knee injuries, Jackson will likely continue to carry a larger share of the carries than he would have otherwise.

But Baltimore obviously needed a running back or two to emerge after the injuries. Murray and Ty'Son Williams have essentially split the remaining carries so far with Murray taking 19 to Williams' 22.

Williams broke onto the scene with a 35-yard touchdown in Vegas on "Monday Night Football" and has seen the majority of the running back snaps. He's had 72 over the first two games to 48 for Murray.

As Murray gets more time in the Ravens' offense, the snap counts could level out some. But even if they don't, Murray knows his name will be called on around the red zone, perhaps even moreso after Williams fumbled on the goal-line Sunday night.

"Finding the end zone; that's what I've got to do if I'm going to in there and be effective," Murray said. "That's something I want to keep doing - finding the end zone. There is no better feeling than that."

It's been a wild few weeks for Murray. After averaging 4.5 yards per carry last season, his highest total since his rookie year, Murray was released by the New Orleans Saints, who reportedly wanted him to take a pay cut.

Murray already had some interest in joining Baltimore after seeing Dobbins go down. When Edwards also went out, he said things moved quickly to bring him in.

"When you get let go, you've got a chip on your shoulder, you've got something to prove," Murray said. "So nobody here had to tell me anything about what the expectations were. I know what I need to do, I know what I'm capable of doing, and that's what I'm here to do."

Murray was still studying the Ravens playbook in his hotel room during the day before "Monday Night Football" in Vegas. His strategy was to translate the Ravens' play-call for something into what that same play is called in New Orleans.

"It helped with just having experience with different offenses and kind of being around. The biggest challenge is going out there and playing fast and not thinking about it," he said. "Once you get out there and it's for real, it's just a little bit different in walk-through and sitting in your room going through the plays in your head."

There were questions about how good the Ravens rushing attack would be this year after the losses of Dobbins and Edwards. Through two games, Baltimore leads the league with 440 rushing yards. The Philadelphia Eagles are in second but not even close with 324 yards.

Murray said he didn't know the Ravens were leading the league in rushing, but that he's excited because he knows there's still room to improve personally and as a unit.

"I just think there are a lot of ways that we can hurt you, and it starts with Lamar just being beside you," Murray said. "[With the defense] not knowing if he's going to keep it or give it, that right there is difficult in itself. Then [there's] all the different things that we're doing. Coming at you north and south and then getting the ball outside, it's just tough on the defense. It keeps them on their toes, and it gives us the opportunity to really just hurt them."

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