With the Pittsburgh Steelers recently adding one of the Baltimore Ravens’ wide receivers, we have talked a bit about the 2021 fourth-place team in the AFC North and the state of their passing game. The Ravens did not have the success they were looking for overall last year, but that was for a multitude of reasons, many of which they expect, or at least hope, to avoid in 2022.
One of them is preventing their top performers from missing time. Last year, that included first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who missed the first five games of the season due to a groin injury that he suffered in training camp, which he had to have surgically repaired at that time.
With him missing five games, and then Lamar Jackson missing the final five games, the quarterback-receiver duo hasn’t had all that much time yet to work together, so they are excited about getting that going this offseason.
“It’s definitely been real important”, he said of getting in work with Jackson, via the team’s website. “With the injury and missing time, getting that chemistry back with ‘L’ is important. Working out with him was definitely a plus, getting in shape, running some routes. It felt good to connect with him”.
Despite the time missed, Bateman did manage to finish third on the team in receptions and receiving yards, catching 46 passes on 68 targets for 515 yards. He only found the end zone once, however, something he certainly hopes to improve upon in year two, and getting that connection with Jackson will be key.
“Lamar is phenomenal as always, he’s doing good”, he said of his quarterback. “I’m excited for him, excited for his future. It was something we had already talked about before the season ended. James Proche, Benjamin Victor – those guys came in there and worked out”.
Bateman is expected to be one of the team’s top receivers this year alongside Marquise Brown, with Devin Duvernay, Proche, and Tylan Wallace rounding out the top five of the position. But tight end Mark Andrews remains Jackson’s number one target.
Much of Bateman’s production actually came once Jackson was out of the lineup. Over the final five games, he caught 21 passes on 29 targets for 214 yards and his lone touchdowns reception. He even had a 100-yard game in the game in which Jackson was injured early, working with Tyler Huntley.
Overall, he caught 22 out of 33 targets from Jackson during his rookie season, putting up 272 receiving yards. Jackson threw three interceptions while targeting him as well, translating into just a quarterback rating of 54.1. His lone touchdown was thrown by Josh Johnson.