The fact that they lost almost all of their running backs just before the start of the season probably plays a factor, but the Baltimore Ravens have been much more motivated to put the ball in the air this year than that have over the past two and a half seasons with Lamar Jackson at quarterback.
There are a lot of factors that go into it. But a simple internal improvement of their passing targets is one reason, and 2019 first-round wide receiver Marquise Brown is certainly beginning to play at another level this year. According to his position coach, Tee Martin, it’s no coincidence.
“I just think with his preparation, I’m the proudest of him with how he’s approaching the professional side of the game during the week”, he said of the third-year wide receiver yesterday. “Sundays are a result of during the week, and I think he’s made the best strides of being out early every day, asking for more, what drill can we do to work on this, and really attacking issues”.
“It’s one thing to recognize it, but it’s another thing to accept it and then go and work on it”, he continued. “I think he’s done a really good job of just coming to work every day, and we’re seeing the results of that on gameday”.
Through seven games, Brown has already caught 37 passes for 566 yards with six touchdowns. Right now, he is on pace to catch 90 passes for 1,375 yards and 16-17 touchdowns, which would be sizeable increases in his career-highs otherwise.
Of course, a lot of that is simply volume—he only averaged 6.25 targets per game last year, whereas this year he is seeing almost two full targets more than that—but he’s also seeing more targets because he’s doing more things to be in position for them. He has actually seen more targets than tight end Mark Andrews, who’s also putting up sizeable numbers.
One thing he’s always had is pure speed, and the ability to hunt down the deep ball. He showed that this past Sunday, albeit in one of the Ravens’ most lopsided losses in years, against the Cincinnati Bengals, plucking a 39-yard touchdown out of the back of the end zone.
Aside from Brown and Andrews, Baltimore is just getting rookie first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman into the fold, with Miles Boykin also coming back. Perhaps that will signal them putting the ball in the air even more—especially with the running game appearing to run out of steam over time.