John Harbaugh on J.K. Dobbins Injury: 'Fair' to Ask Why RB Played in Preseason Finale

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 30, 2021

Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins (27) is helped off the field during an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Football Team, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday "it's a fair conversation" when asked why J.K. Dobbins was playing when he suffered a season-ending knee injury.

The running back suffered a torn ACL during his team's final preseason game against the Washington Football Team on Saturday.

Harbaugh discussed the situation with reporters Monday:

"There are other teams that don't play their guys at all. They don't play their starters for one snap. We are probably as close to that as we've... I know we're farther down that road than we've ever been. We played our guys so little this offseason. It's just been how we've done it. But anytime a guy gets hurt, you ask yourself those questions."

Of note, Dobbins "liked" a tweet by NFL Network's Taylor Bisciotti that questioned why teams play starters during the preseason.

Dobbins played just 23 snaps during the three preseason games, and his injury came on the opening drive against Washington. The starters came out after the first possession.

With one fewer game this preseason compared to past years, teams around the NFL took a varied approach to the exhibition games. Some squads—like the Miami Dolphins—benched nearly all starters in the final preseason game and evaluated the reserves. Others, including the San Francisco 49ers, effectively had a dress rehearsal during the first quarter with full starting lineups.

San Francisco running backs Raheem Mostert and Trey Sermon each had seven rushing attempts in the win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris also appeared in three preseason games as the squad looked to prepare him for his rookie season.

The Ravens were unlucky to have Dobbins go down on the first drive.

The second-year player was expected to play a significant role this season after establishing himself as an elite talent in 2020. The 22-year-old finished last year with 805 rushing yards on 6.0 yards per carry, adding a team-high nine touchdowns.

Baltimore will rely on Gus Edwards and Ty'Son Williams in the backfield next to Lamar Jackson as it looks to repeat as the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL.