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Marlon Brown Key For Red-Zone Offense

Posted Nov 21, 2013

The Ravens could get their big receiver back this week after missing him in Sunday's loss in Chicago.

Whenever the Ravens drive inside opponents’ red zone, rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown knows the ball is likely headed his way.

The 6-foot-5 receiver is Joe Flacco’s tallest weapon, and that size advantage over defenders makes him an attractive target whenever the offense gets near the goal line.

“I pride myself on that a lot,” Brown said about his red-zone presence. “Usually if we’re driving the ball and we get into the red-zone area, I know that I’m probably going to have a shot or two. And I know I have to make it count.”

Brown has proven his worth in the red zone this season. Brown has a team-leading five touchdown receptions, which have all come inside the red zone. In his games this year, Brown has 27 catches for 307 yards.

“Marlon gives you a big target obviously, and he has his strengths, but I think some of the other guys are also fairly quick and can find seams,” Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell said.

The Ravens missed Brown in Sunday’s game against the Bears because of a knee injury, which was the second game he’s missed this year.

Flacco likely could have used Brown on the offense’s final drive of regulation, when they moved the ball inside the Bears 5-yard line with a chance to score a touchdown for the win. On that possession, the biggest target for Flacco was Dallas Clark, who is 6-foot-3, 252 pounds.

Baltimore had three shots at the end zone, but was unable to get a touchdown and ended up settling for the field goal to force overtime.

“Marlon gives you a little bigger target, but he’s one amongst a crew of guys who can really fare well in that area,” Caldwell said.

The Ravens had three trips inside the red zone Sunday and scored touchdowns on two of them – a 1-yard run by Ray Rice and a 5-yard reception by Torrey Smith. The only time they did not score a touchdown inside the red zone was on that final drive of the fourth quarter.

This season, the Ravens have scored touchdowns on 45.2 percent of their drives inside the red zone, which ranks 18th in the NFL. They have come away with a touchdown or field goal on 90.5 percent of those trips, second best in the league.

“We’d like to be 100 percent in that area,” Caldwell said. “We don’t care how we get it in, whether we run it in or we throw it in.  We just want to score. We have to be able to spread it out and use all of our weapons.”

The good news for the Ravens is that Brown looks like he will be able to return this week against the Jets. He was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday, and told reporters that the knee injury does not appear to be a lingering concern.

“It’s not going to be a problem,” Brown said. 


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