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Friday, January 27, 2023

Young Ravens WRs working to bond with Lamar Jackson

The Baltimore Ravens have been searching for a consistent impact wide receiver for quite some time now. The Ravens seemed to have gotten one with 2019 first-round pick Marquise Brown who finished with a career-high 91 receptions and 1,008 receiving yards last season.

Brown and Lamar Jackson bonded thanks to their common South Florida roots. Jackson figured Brown would be around for years to come. But that was before he was shocked by the trade that sent Brown to the Arizona Cardinals for the No. 23 overall pick in the 2022 draft.

Now Jackson is left with Rashod Bateman as his likely top receiver entering this season. The two got to spend three days together at minicamp last week. Judging from their comments, the chemistry is already off to a good start.

“We just had chemistry off [the] bat,” Jackson said. “It was like I never stopped playing, really, and I just felt like when I got to camp, it was going to be the same way, and it has.”

“I just think that he’s coming in and he’s about his business,” Bateman added. “He’s been out here working day-by-day, and his approach to the game is definitely different. He’s eager, he’s ready to ball, he’s ready to show everybody who he is. We all know who he is, and I think we all are tired of the Lamar [Jackson] slander. But, I know who he is.”

Bateman is entering his second season and says the No. 1 receiver role is one that he always wanted to be in. After catching 46 passes for 515 yards and a touchdown, Bateman could see a huge leap thanks for more targets from Jackson this season. 

“He’s getting open at the line super, super quick,” tight end Mark Andrews said of Bateman. “And then he’s got a burst of speed people don’t really talk about. Second-year, he’s a guy that’s just gonna get better and better and better. The sky’s the limit for him.”

James Proche and Devin Duvernay are also cemented at the top of the Ravens depth chart. Proche didn’t have the same success as Bateman (20 receptions, 202 yards) last season but has found a similar bond with Jackson so far as they prepare for 2022.

“I think that chemistry is important just as people. We can go out and throw all day, but the closer we get as people, watching film, knowing each other’s thinking, knowing each other’s tendencies, what makes them tick, what makes them go,” Proche said. 

“How to get each other going, when we’re in a rut … I think that stuff matters more when we’re involved in chemistry. That’s an everyday grind. As the season goes – it’s not just an off-season thing – during the season, we’ll keep picking it up and hopefully for years to come.”

The team isn’t scheduled to be back together until training camp starts in late July. Jackson didn’t give any indications that they’ll have a throwing session before camp starts. He’s done it in the past with Brown and the results followed. 

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