The Baltimore Ravens are taking a 16-game preseason winning streak with them as they visit the Philadelphia Eagles tonight for their third preseason game of the year. First-round pick Marquise Brown will be with them, but the question remains, in what capacity?
The first wide receiver chosen in the draft spent most of the offseason observing from the sidelines as he rehabbed a Lisfranc foot injury, starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List, but he has been making progress since then, and recently was a full participant in practice for the first time.
In spite of the positive steps forward, however, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh tempered the enthusiasm a bit yesterday when discussing him. “He basically practiced for the first time in a more aggressive setting” recently, he said.
“I saw a guy who was practicing for the first time. We’ll see it on tape. He’s just got to get accustomed to it. It’s all new for him. The speed of it, the thinking with lining up, running the right route. I mean, he’s got a ways to go with all that. I’m confident that he’ll get there and we’ll know out to use him early in the season, but it’s just great work for him”.
Now, it didn’t exactly say that he has a ways to go from a rehabilitation perspective, so that at least is good. He has practiced for several days in a row, and even participated in the team’s inter-scrimmage practice with the Green Bay Packers. Teams are more inclined to rest injured players in such an environment.
The Ravens’ current concern is developing a chemistry between Brown and quarterback Lamar Jackson. The two have gotten very little practice time together so far, and when they have been on the field, it hasn’t been easy for them to connect, according to practice reports.
Assuming that he is able to play tomorrow against the Eagles, that could be a big step in the right direction if the two could hook up a time or two inside of a stadium against a live opponent, rather than your teammates on the other side of the ball.
Brown is one of two wide receivers that Baltimore drafted this year, the other being third-round pick Miles Boykin. They also signed Seth Roberts and Michael Floyd in free agency, while retaining Willie Snead and Chris Moore from last season’s roster.
They’ll have to iron out the depth chart from there, but for the moment, Snead and Roberts are listed as their top wide receivers, with Moore and second-year Jaleel Scott behind them. Brown, Floyd, and Jaylen Smith are listed on the third team, while Boykin is clustered into a group of four players in the fourth-team group.