Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh defends playing starting RB J.K. Dobbins, who suffered season-ending knee injury in preseason finale

OWINGS MILLS, Md. - John Harbaugh said Monday that it's a legitimate question to ask why running back J.K. Dobbins played in the preseason finale, but he emphasized that the Baltimore Ravens are among the teams who play their starters the least.

Dobbins suffered a season-ending injury in the opening drive of Saturday's 37-3 rout of Washington. He tore the ACL in his left knee on the ninth play of the game.

Asked what he would say to fans who wondered why Dobbins was in the game, Harbaugh said, "It's a fair conversation."

Harbaugh then noted that Dobbins had only played 23 plays (with a total of 10 touches) in three preseason games. He said there are other teams who play their starters extensively, including some in the AFC North.

"But there are other teams that don't play their guys at all," Harbaugh said. "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."

Harbaugh said he believes Gus Edwards and Ty'Son Williams will fill the void left by Dobbins. But he pointed out that Baltimore uses a running-back-by-committee approach and will spread out carries to the three active running backs on game day. The other running backs on the roster are Justice Hill and Nate McCrary.

"Like any injury ... you just have to approach it and overcome it," Harbaugh said. "We have the players to do it. We have the team to do it. And I have full confidence in the rest of the running backs that are here to pick up the load and to do a great job for us."