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Deonte Thompson May Get Bigger Role

Posted Nov 7, 2013

The speedy route runner may be the key to breaking opponents’ man-to-man coverage.

As the Ravens go more to the three wide receiver spread, it will likely mean more action for wide receiver Deonte Thompson.

The second-year speedster caught three passes for 24 yards in Cleveland, and could be in store for more starting this Sunday against Cincinnati.

“Yes. Deonte, hopefully, will continue to be a bigger and bigger part of what we do because he is so talented,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

“Deonte is a very good route runner. He can run all the routes outside very effectively. So, when you have a route runner, you like to get him the ball and have him make some plays for you. If people are going to play us the way they’re playing us right now, you need a route runner outside to make some plays.”

The Ravens’ opponents have been playing mostly run defenses, taking that part of the game away almost completely. They are dropping a safety down to help support.

That leaves a single high safety and man-on-man coverage on the wide receivers. A receiver with speed and good route-running should be able to break that consistently.

“When you see a lot of one-high you definitely get that chance to go one-on-one with the defensive back,” Thompson said. “Separation, speed, that’s when all that comes into play. It’s just beating them.”

Thompson has flashed his potential this season. After suffering a sprained foot in the Ravens’ first preseason game on Aug. 8, Thompson missed the rest of the preseason and the first three regular-season games.

He debuted in Buffalo, where he caught four passes for 50 yards, including a 33-yarder down the sideline. He hauled in two more passes the next week but he saw just one offensive snap against Green Bay and none in Pittsburgh.

The Ravens went back to him last week, and saw positive results. After going three-and-out on the opening drive, quarterback Joe Flacco targeted Thompson three times on the next drive. He caught two of them for 19 yards. Thompson later had a tough 8-yard catch called back because he inadvertently stepped out of bounds before ripping it away from the cornerback.

Another wide receiver also getting more snaps is rookie Marlon Brown. He was on the field for 56 of the offense’s 73 plays, second only to Torrey Smith. Brown got 15 more snaps than Jacoby Jones.

Brown has had an explosive season so far, catching 26 passes for 297 yards and a team-high five touchdowns. He’s only two scores short of tying Smith’s rookie touchdown record.

“If I get it, I get it. If not, oh well,” Brown said. “It’s pretty cool when the coaches have confidence in you. That’s pretty dope.

“But at the end of the day I have the same mentality I had Week 1. I feel like I can always get better.”

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