OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Alex Collins leads NFL running backs with four lost fumbles over the past two seasons, but his issues with ball security won’t affect his status as the Baltimore Ravens' starting running back.
Coach John Harbaugh gave a vote of confidence to Collins on Monday, a day after he fumbled at the 1-yard line in Sunday’s 26-14 win in Pittsburgh.
"Alex is a trustworthy guy,” Harbaugh said. "I fully expect him to clean that up real quick.”
In the past, Harbaugh has benched running backs for not being able to hold onto the ball. Ray Rice missed time after fumbling as a rookie in 2008, and Buck Allen sat after losing the ball in 2015.
Harbaugh said Collins’ hard running style and effort to get that extra yard sometimes exposes the ball to get ripped away.
"Fumbling is always troublesome,” Harbaugh said. "You can’t have it. It’s not worth it. He’ll focus on that. One thing I know about Alex is he’ll make it his job one to hold onto the football. He knows that’s the expectation.”
Collins has corrected this problem previously. He fumbled twice in his first three games with the Ravens last season. But Collins didn’t cough up the ball in the final 12 games.
Like last season, he has lost the ball twice in his first four games of 2018. Harbaugh has made players hold onto footballs during team meetings when they’ve had fumbling issues.
"Maybe I’ll do that with Alex,” Harbaugh said.
Collins was one of the bigger surprises last season for Baltimore. He led the Ravens with 973 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
This season, Collins has been unable to get on track. He ranks 30th in the NFL with 158 yards rushing, averaging 3.5 yards per carry.
The only other experienced running back on the roster is Allen. This season, Collins and Allen have split time in the backfield. Each has played 136 snaps through four games.