The Baltimore Ravens overhauled their wide receiver depth chart during the offseason adding several first-round talents. For the first time since Week 2, they’re set to have all their top wideouts available this Sunday when they travel to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Friday, 2021 first-rounder Rashod Batman was removed from the final injury report and three-time Pro Bowler Odell Beckham Jr. told reporters that he expects to play this week.
“Yes, I expect to be out there,” Beckham said. “We’ll see what we have going on in the gameplan.”
Bateman missed last week’s win over the Cleveland Browns with a hamstring injury and was a full participant in practice all week. Beckham Jr. has missed the past two games after suffering an ankle injury in the Ravens’ Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Even though he was a limited participant in practice this week, the 10-year veteran is confident that he’ll be back in action despite being listed as questionable.
Beckham Jr. played 98 total offensive snaps before suffering his minor setback and has just five receptions for 66 receiving yards on seven targets. Prior to going down, he was consistently displaying his ability to still be a difference-maker in the Ravens’ offense. He averaged 13.2 yards per catch, picking up a first down on all but one of his catches, and also drew some key pass interference penalties deep down the field.
There were high hopes for the 30-year-old entering the season after he sat out all of last year recovering from a torn ACL. In his absence, first-round rookie Zay Flowers has emerged as the Ravens’ No. 1 wide receiver. Now that he’s back, Beckham Jr. will still be a key factor in the passing game that will prevent opposing defenses from trying to limit the impact of the promising first-year pro.
Despite being a bit short-handed at receiver for the past couple of weeks, the Ravens’ offense has still made strides and looked impressive for stretches. The fact that first-year Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken’s unit is still winning while still trying to find their stride has Beckham Jr. excited for their potential moving forward.
“I know we haven’t played our best game, but we’re still finding ways to win,” Beckham Jr. said. “I take that as a positive. We see the flashes, but we know we’re not hitting on everything the way we could be hitting on. We’re not there at the ceiling and it’s only Week 4. Just keep finding ways to progress and get better. That’s one of the best qualities about this team.”
Beckham Jr. is no stranger to the AFC North and its rivalries. He played against the other three teams in the division during his two-and-a-half-year stint with the Cleveland Browns from 2019 to 2021. However, Sunday will be his first taste of the Ravens vs. Steelers rivalry, which is the most heated and storied of them all.
“I know the history between the two, so I don’t imagine it being any different than when I was in Cleveland,” Beckham Jr. said. “This whole division is a tough group for these four teams to go against each other.”
In his six career games against the Steelers that took place from 2016-2021, Beckham Jr. hauled in 20-of-36 targets for 220 receiving yards, no touchdowns, and an average of 11 yards per catch. Those games came with subpar play at the quarterback position for the most part.
This time around, he’ll be catching passes from a former unanimous league MVP. Lamar Jackson can consistently get him the ball in stride and on point, as he has shown during the Ravens’ strong 3-1 start to the season.