The start of the 2022 NFL season has been the epitome of a roller coaster for the Baltimore Ravens. The team sits at 2-2 through four weeks, but they could easily be 4-0 if just a few more bounces went the right way. There’s plenty to like about the Ravens, but also a ton of question marks.
Baltimore’s two wins, against the New York Jets and New England Patriots, have both been in convincing fashion. However, the Ravens surrendered huge leads in their costly losses to the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. They sit in a three-way tie for the AFC North lead, and Sunday night’s showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals has massive implications for the division.
Despite the .500 record, Baltimore has had plenty of bright spots early on. Lamar Jackson has returned to MVP form, with over 1,200 total yards and 13 touchdowns through four games. The defense has also been able to consistently force turnovers, with its seven interceptions tied for the league lead.
From a statistical standpoint, there’s very little to complain about in Baltimore, though the pass defense could certainly improve. There are a few players who have been struggling this season, and one in particular may not be around much longer.
Ravens’ biggest disappointment in 2022
Kenyan Drake has never been one of the premier running backs in the NFL, but he has usually managed to carve out a role for himself. He had some solid years in Miami to start his career, especially when he had over 1,000 total yards and nine touchdowns in 2018. Of course, Dolphins fans will remember him most for completing the Miami Miracle against the New England Patriots that year.
Ya'll remember the Miami Miracle?
(🎥: NFL) pic.twitter.com/N5iEjpz7Fk
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) July 14, 2022
In 2019, Miami traded Drake to Arizona, where he enjoyed the best stretch of his career. In just eight games with the Cardinals in 2019, Drake rushed for 643 yards and eight touchdowns. He then followed that up with 955 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, both career highs, in 2020, his only full season in Arizona.
Despite his strong performance with the team, the Cardinals decided not to bring him back in 2021. Instead, he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, and that’s when his career took a turn for the worse.
In 12 games with the Raiders, Drake had just 254 yards and two touchdowns rushing. He enjoyed a bit more success receiving, though, with 30 catches for 291 yards and a touchdown. Still, his performance was a far cry from what he did as a Cardinal.
Las Vegas’ running back room grew more crowded this offseason, and the team released Drake in August. The Ravens picked him up days later, hoping to add some depth to their running back room. Drake became the latest in a long line of running backs for Baltimore while J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards recovered from long-term injuries.
The Ravens weren’t expecting Drake to become a star, but they probably expected more than what they got. In the team’s first two games, Drake rushed 17 times for 39 yards, an average of 2.3 yards per carry. He also wasn’t a factor in the passing game, with just a single catch for 15 yards.
Unsurprisingly, Drake hasn’t impressed Baltimore with his performance. Since Dobbins made his return in Week 3, Drake has been inactive in each of the last two games. With Dobbins back and Edwards slated to return soon, Drake realistically may not see the field again unless the Ravens have another wave of injuries.
Dobbins also hasn’t been spectacular this season, with just 64 yards on 20 carries, but at least he has the excuse of not playing in over a year due to a torn ACL. Drake just simply hasn’t played well enough to stay in the lineup, especially with players returning. Still, if a backup running back is the Ravens’ most disappointing player, they’re doing pretty well for themselves.