If you had to take a guess on the only Baltimore Raven to begin his career with a touchdown in his first two NFL starts, who would you take? If you said undrafted free agent wide receiver Marlon Brown, then you are correct.
While he only had six targets against the Cleveland Browns in the Ravens’ 14-6 victory, the former Georgia Bulldog once again added four catches for 45 yards and found his way into the end zone for the second time this season. In two games, Brown has caught eight passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Even though his numbers aren’t exactly star-caliber just yet, you have to figure quarterback Joe Flacco is encouraged by the early development of the young receiver.
The 22-year-old possesses something that none of the other Ravens wide receivers have: height. At 6-foot-5, it appears as if Brown could somewhat replace the loss of tight end Dennis Pitta as a big target for Flacco in the red zone.
His speed, separation and consistency with catching passes still need work, and it remains to be seen as to just how well he can run the full route tree. However, it seems like offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell was trying to disguise Brown as a secret weapon for Flacco, but now that his fantasy football impact has increased, the bit of hiding No. 14 may be over.
Still, don’t fall asleep on Brown emerging as a serious threat in this Ravens passing game. While Torrey Smith isn’t a true No. 1 receiver, he has shown some serious progress this season and commands the attention of the opposing defense’s best cover corner. This could sway some pressure away from Brown, especially if the Ravens can fix their running game issues (28th in the league averaging 2.8 YPC on 57 carries) and help set up the play-action passing attack.
I think Brown is poised for another solid game this weekend as the Houston Texans travel to M & T Bank Stadium to face the Ravens. Despite the Texans being 2-0, they have had to win both of their games against the San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans coming from behind as their defense left them hanging early. The Titans did only gain a paltry 248 total yards against Houston, but Philip Rivers had success against this vaunted 3-4 defense led by J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing; I don’t see why Flacco can’t pick them apart along with former Ravens safety Ed Reed as he is expected to make his Texans debut in the secondary.