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Gus Edwards' Challenge Will Be Sustaining a Breakout Campaign, But Not in the Way You May Think

July 12, 2019 - 4:46 pm
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By Joe Schiller

All aboard the "Gus Bus."

That became the common theme throughout the second half of the season for the Baltimore Ravens as Gus Edwards barreled his way through opposing defenders. The undrafted running back out of Rutgers had a breakout season as a rookie, rushing for 718 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. 

Edwards, along with Lamar Jackson, led a potent rushing attack that averaged the second-most rushing yards per game in 2018 (152.6), second only behind the Seattle Seahawks. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Edwards finished with the highest rate of rush attempts tackled for loss at 1.38%. In other words, he rarely went down behind the line of scrimmage. 

At 6-foot-1, 238 pounds, Edwards is a bruiser running through holes. He's more likely to run into contact than away from it. 

The Ravens haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Justin Forsett in 2014. They've worked through a revolving door of candidates in recent years from Terrance West, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, and most recently Alex Collins, and Edwards is the latest breakout candidate. 

Now, Edwards' biggest challenge will be sustaining that success, but not in the way you may think. 

That won't come easy, given that the Ravens added to the backfield this offseason. They signed veteran Mark Ingram to a three-year, $15 million deal and drafted rookie Justice Hill in the fourth round. 

The Ravens are engineering an unprecedented offense under Greg Roman and are expected to use a committee of running backs, which has become a common theme among teams throughout the league. Edwards' success won't be defined by a 1,000-yard season, but rather his efficiency and consistency. Last season Collins struggled to find his consistency early last season before being placed on season-ending IR, and Edwards can't afford to have the same start. 

If the Ravens' offensive formula works, they could make life difficult for opposing defenses. But the "IF" continues to remain the biggest factor.