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Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman Getting up to Speed With Joe Flacco

Posted Sep 7, 2017

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has had just a handful of practices with Jeremy Maclin. Breshad Perriman sat out the entire preseason. How will that impact their timing and chemistry in Week 1?

When Joe Flacco and his rehabilitated back returned to the field Saturday, it marked only his third practice with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

When Perriman came back from a hamstring injury the same day, it was his first practice in more than a month. Perriman has played in one preseason game (last year) in his three seasons.

So how will all that time apart and away from the field impact two of the Ravens’ top three wide receivers in Sunday’s regular-season opener in Cincinnati?

“We’re all professionals. Our job is that, if we do miss time, whenever we get back we have to step in and get back to it like we never left,” Maclin said. “I don’t think it’s going to be that big of an issue.”

Flacco and Maclin had a pair of minicamp practices together after the wide receiver signed a two-year deal on June 12. Considering Maclin will be a major part of the offense, likely often in the slot, getting them on the same page is imperative.

Flacco said it’s true that every receiver has their own way of doing things (how they run routes, where they like the ball thrown, etc.), and that a rapport is built throughout practice and the season. Practice, of course, helps. At the same time, Flacco also hinted that chemistry is somewhat overblown.

“Jeremy is a good player and he knows how to get open,” Flacco said. “Things might not be perfect right now, but if he gets open, then I should be able to put the ball on him. We have been doing that since we have been 6 years old.

“You just have to go back to the basics of things. You can’t overthink things too much. You have to go into games like this and keep it simple for yourself and just hit the guy when he is open.”

With Flacco’s arm and accuracy, he can certainly do that. Maclin said that he and Flacco already have a good early connection after just a handful of practices.

“I think that goes to show the talent he has, that he can step back in and hit guys on the money and know where the ball’s supposed to go,” Maclin said. “It makes life a little easier for us. He’s a phenomenal quarterback, and that makes the transition smoother.”

Perriman has different, yet similar, issues going into the season-opener. While he had all last season, Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp to gain chemistry with Flacco, both players were out for nearly all of training camp.

Perriman also sat out all of last year’s training camp with a knee sprain, and it left him behind the eight ball when the regular season kicked off. He had an impressive 35-yard catch in last year’s opener against the Buffalo Bills, but didn’t record his first 50-yard game or touchdown until Week 10.

“I feel like any time you miss, it will probably be a setback,” Perriman said. “But I’m very confident about where I’m at right now, and I know I’ll be ready for Sunday.”

Perriman said he’s been studying Cincinnati the entire time he’s been hurt, and he’s been doing field work even though not participating in full-team practice. He looked good during pre-game warmups before the team’s third preseason game.

Last year’s knee injury was much more severe than Perriman’s hamstring tweak, which the Ravens approached cautiously so as to not jeopardize the speedy wideout’s regular-season return.

Perriman said there’s a “huge difference” when comparing himself now to where he was a year ago.

“Last year it was a little scare. That was my second scary big [knee] injury,” Perriman said. “Just going through it again this year, I feel like I took it a lot better. It wasn’t that big of an injury; this was a small setback.”

Both Maclin and Perriman are looking for an improvement in production this season, and the Ravens offense will need it.

After missing his entire rookie season, Perriman caught 33 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns last year. The 2015 first-round pick showed flashes of his immense potential, but he needs to register big plays with more consistency.

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