By Chris Schisler
Don’t look now, but Marquise Brown may be a number one receiver. Whether you’ve gotten knee-deep in the feud between Hollywood Brown and Bart Scott (Yes, it’s a thing) or not, Brown being a number one target is a true area of conversation. Is Brown the real thing, do the Ravens have a true number one receiver?
The answer is yes. Brown has had a fantastic season despite having the drops against the Detroit Lions. Even in that drop-plagued performance, Brown had three receptions and averaged 17.7 yards per catch, contributing to great numbers in the first five games of the season. The talk after the Lions game was about the stats Jackson would have had if it weren’t for the drops; but what about the crazy numbers Brown could have had?
Marquise Brown by the numbers:
Brown has two games over 100 yards. He’s picking up an average of 16.1 yards per catch. Brown has three games with six catches or more. Lamar Jackson has 112 completed passes this season and Brown has been the receiver on 25 percent of those completions.
Mark Andrews may have had the game of his life against the Indianapolis Colts, but the epic comeback started with a shot to Brown. What’s amazing about Brown this season is that he’s doing a bit of everything. He’s become the deep threat the Ravens always knew he could be, but he’s catching passes all over the football field. His route running is making this almost unfair at this point. He’s playing sharp football and his speed is a problem for defenses.
ESPN has Brown’s projected stats for the whole season to be monstrous. The worldwide leader of sports coverage has Brown down for 90 receptions for 1,443 yards and 16 touchdowns. If Brown locks in numbers anywhere close to that the Ravens are winning a lot of games. If Brown even gets in the zip code of that projection he’s gone from a solid receiver to the superstar. This is the jump the Ravens were looking for in his third season.
The last time I wrote glowingly about Brown’s progress was right before the Lions game. If Brown has a bad game against the Los Angeles Chargers I’ll take full responsibility for it -We’ll call it the Schisler jinx and I’ll spend a week with a paper bag over my head. But let’s talk about that Lions game.
Marquise Brown’s redemption and leadership:
Brown had bad drops in that game. We’re talking about passes hitting him right in the hands and the ball hitting the turf. The Ravens never benched Brown. They never gave him any flack for those drops and his teammates were overwhelmingly supportive of Brown. Brown even thanked Justin Tucker for bailing him out with the 66-yard field goal that legends are made of.
The Ravens got it right. They knew that the only person who could do anything for their star receiver was the star receiver himself. Just like his quarterback, Brown takes his failures personally and takes it on himself to work past these moments and redeem himself. Brown didn’t stay stuck in his head. He took action, he caught soccer balls in practice…whatever it took to get back on track.
Brown went right back to work. He torched the Denver Broncos and abused the Colts. Brown hasn’t had an issue since the week three game in Detroit. If Brown goes on to have the best year of his career to this point (and that looks like a good bet) that game in Detroit doesn’t even matter. Ideally, we will look back at this moment and say it was the thing that pushed Brown past his problems with drops. Even if it pops back up at some point, Brown has shown a mental fortitude through this that deserves your recognition.
The Bottom Line:
So much of the talk following the Colts game has been about the MVP bid of Lamar Jackson. Jackson is absolutely deserving of all the praise he’s getting. The Ravens would not be anywhere close to 4-1 without Jackson. What we can’t do is get Hollywood’s praise lost in all the hype for the MVP quarterback. The Ravens’ offense would look drastically different without Marquise Brown.
If nobody can seemingly cover Brown, he’s a number one receiver. If he’s getting open despite the desperation of the opposing team to limit his touches, he’s a number one receiver. When Brown plays at this level, he’s a number one receiver. He’s a leader in Baltimore. The rightful MVP of the league knows that the offense has to be sparked by Brown. Jackson to Brown is a winning combination that is flexing its might going into the sixth week of the NFL season.