Deep Threat Chris Givens Will Play Sunday


While the Ravens didn't put outside linebacker Jason Babin on the field until his third week with the team, new wide receiver Chris Givens won't get the same treatment.

Suddenly short two wide receivers (Steve Smith Sr. and Michael Campanaro) due to back injuries, the Ravens need immediate reinforcements.

"He's going to be out there on Sunday," Harbaugh said Wednesday morning. "How much he plays depends on how well he does. I'm really hopeful that he plays a lot. It will be up to him and how well he can learn what we're doing." 

It remains to be seen whether Givens will have just a special teams role, presumably on kickoff returns, or an offensive impact as well.

Givens has been in Baltimore since Sunday night, and immediately jumped into the playbook. He had breakfast with fellow former Wake Forest alum, Campanaro, Monday morning.

"He came in and I asked him about one play and he already knew what it was, so he's definitely in the playbook," Campanaro said.

Harbaugh said Givens had a good walkthrough practice Tuesday and Flacco has been impressed in his short time with Givens as well.

"He can definitely run. He can catch the football. He can run routes," Flacco said. "The biggest challenge is just going to be to get him up to speed and create some kind of comfort level before we go out there in a game and make it work."

Givens said the Ravens' offensive concepts aren't all that unlike from the Rams', but that the terminology is obviously different.

"I'm not worried about learning anything," he said. "I'm a pretty smart guy, so I've just got to show up and go to work every day. It's not that big of an adjustment."

Even if he doesn't know all the routes or plays, Givens immediately provides a speed threat on the outside, something the Ravens have been sorely lacking through the first four weeks with first-round rookie Breshad Perriman sidelined.

During the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, Givens ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, tied for the seventh-best time that year among wideouts.

Givens has used that speed to average a robust 16.3 yards per catch during his young four-year career.

In 2012, his 16.6 yards per catch (42 receptions for 698 yards) ranked sixth in the NFL, just two spots behind former Raven Torrey Smith (17.4). In 2013, Givens again finished sixth in the league in average yards per catch (16.7), one spot behind Smith.

Flacco had a lot of success throwing deep to Smith and could replicate that with Givens.

"I love Joe. I've watched Joe for years," Givens said. "He has a strong arm and I feel like our talents match up and we can complement each other well. It can be explosive."

Despite his big-play potential, Givens fell out of favor in St. Louis.

His best season as a Ram came as a rookie when he posted 42 catches for 698 yards and three touchdowns. The following year, he dipped to 34 receptions for 569 yards and no touchdowns. In 2014, he had just 11 snags for 159 yards. So far in 2015, he had just one catch for 7 yards.

Part of the reason was the Rams kept adding more receivers with high draft picks.

Brian Quick was taken in the second round in 2012, two rounds before Givens. The Rams drafted Baltimore product Tavon Austin in the first round in 2013. They also selected Stedman Bailey in the third round that year. They signed Kenny Britt before the 2014 season.

"It was very frustrating," Givens said. "I knew I was a guy that could complement the team and play well. I don't know if it wasn't the right fit, they liked other guys or whatever the case may be, because after that first year my opportunities just went down."

Two weeks ago, Givens got a call from Campanaro, who told him the Ravens coaches were asking about him. The two played together for three years at Wake Forest. Then Givens said he hardly got practice any reps last week.

"I thought it was just talk, but once things started getting weird around Rams Park, I knew something was up," Givens said. "It's a great opportunity for me to come out and show what I'm about, show what I'm made of. I'm just excited to take advantage."

Givens said he didn't just have a chip on his shoulder. He had a potato.

"[The trade] was a big relief," he said. "It just felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Now I can just play football and not worry about anything and just focus on my craft and being the best I can be."

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