I've been hard on wide receiver Marlon Brown these past two seasons and some fans get upset at that thought. Yet, the Ravens are 1-6 and we are talking about another year with the Ravens lacking weapons in the passing game. We are surprised when Marlon Brown is even on the screen, much less makes a catch. I made a joke during the Ravens vs Cardinals game on Monday night, that someone was wearing a Marlon Brown costume after he made a few receptions. It got some laughs and then the real Brown showed up as he dropped an easy completion. That was the last we would see of Brown for the night.
He had a good rookie season in which the Ravens put him into a major role with the departure of Anquan Boldin and the initial injury to tight end Dennis Pitta. With Brown and Torrey Smith as the only receiving options, it was bound to happen. That's not a knock on him really as it still takes talent to get open and catch 49 passes for 524 yards and 7 touchdowns. We've just seen it with other players that go through a major slump as time goes on and as more game film accrues. Once teams figured out how to knock Marlon Brown out of a game, he hasn't shown up in one since.
That's the shame really. At 6-foot-5 and 214 pounds, Marlon Brown has the body type to be a major weapon for this team. It makes you see what the Ravens see in his potential; right up until you see him play on the field. During training camp, I saw dropped passes and an inability to get open against a Ravens secondary that hasn't exactly been even mediocre this season. While you can point to Brown not being used in the redzone, you have to remember that it takes time and consistent play for a player to get the trust of their quarterback, especially in such a crucial area of the field. With no consistency out of Marlon Brown through three seasons, I can't really scratch my head and wonder why he isn't being used down there.
But that brings us to the main point. The Ravens have seen everything we've seen and yet he is still on the depth chart as the second string wide receiver. He's started two games this season and played in all seven. He's started over other wide receivers that still have an unseen potential. Guys like Jeremy Ross, Chris Givens, Darren Waller, and even recently brought up Jeremy Butler are behind Marlon Brown. In a losing season, it is nice to get a chance to see what you have with your young players in gametime situations, but sadly Brown is stealing playing time away from other guys that could do more.
Take Chris Givens for example. If Flacco had not underthrown him, Givens would have finished the game with right around 80 yards on two receptions and a touchdown to go with it. That would come close to the entire total of yards that Marlon Brown has this season. Jeremy Ross is another player that shows insane speed and agility and an ability to get open on underneath routes. The offense could use shorter passing routes with Jeremy Ross to get him the ball in space and let his skill set be displayed for extra yardage.
As much as I like Marlon Brown and his potential, two seasons of unfulfilled promise is enough to push him down the depth chart. It's certainly enough to limit his playing time and award it to other young receivers in order to see what you have for the 2016 season.