Despite a Slow Start, Breshad Perriman and Receivers Remain Confident


It's been three games and the Breshad Perriman breakout that just about everyone around Baltimore was predicting midway through this summer has not materialized.

None of the Ravens' top three wide receivers have posted eye-popping, or even good, stats so far this season.

After preseason talk about being one of the best trios in the NFL, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman have a combined 11 catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns (both from Maclin).

Perriman is at the bottom of that pack, as he has just one catch for 5 yards on eight targets.

But despite the slow start, Perriman is trying to maintain the confidence that he exhibited this summer when he was routinely making plays in practice.

"It's tough not having catches and going through some games not having the production you want to have. It's an everyday battle trying to keep confidence," Perriman said.

And is he winning that battle?

"Yeah, for the most part," he said with a chuckle. "It doesn't even have to have a big game, but if you're producing in some way, it gives you that extra step and confidence. It's tough. It's an everyday battle for all of us, but we're doing well handling it."

For Perriman, confidence and the mental side of the game have long been important. In his third season, Perriman has been a flummoxing talent since being drafted by the Ravens in the first round in 2015.

He missed his entire rookie season because of a knee injury that lingered, then was exacerbated midway through the year. He played in all 16 games last year and showed flashes of his potential with 33 receptions for 499 yards and three touchdowns, but battled off-the-field issues.

He struggled with another preseason knee injury, the death of close friend and former Ravens cornerback Tray Walker and near-death of his father.

This offseason, all of that was behind him, and Perriman seemed a different player and person. During Organized Team Activities and minicamp, he was arguably the Ravens' best player – on either side of the ball. He routinely got behind the secondary and seemingly made a big play every practice.

Then another injury, this time a hamstring, struck early in training camp. Perriman missed the rest of training camp practice and all four preseason games. How much did that impact Perriman at the start of this season?

"Of course, the more you're out there, the more you get in a rhythm and the better you get on the little things," Perriman said. "Yeah, it plays a part, but I won't use it as an excuse to say I lost the edge or anything."

Like all of the Ravens receivers, Perriman's stats are also a byproduct of game circumstances.

The Ravens only aired the ball out 17 times against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 and relied on a short and intermediate passing attack versus the Cleveland Browns in Week 2 – both resulting in victories.

But the Ravens will need their speedy wide receivers to make big plays at some point this season or teams will not respect their ability to do so and will take away other parts of the offense.

Flacco has not completed a pass yet this season in which the ball traveled more than 20 yards down the field. As one of the fastest receivers in the league, Perriman's best trick is to make those kinds of plays.

"If you don't get everybody involved and get those guys confidence going and level of play really going, you have no shot," Flacco said.

Wallace, who reiterated that he'll die wanting the ball more, said the receivers are helping each other keep their heads up. He said Perriman is just as confident as he is, but just not as loud.

"We don't need excuses; we just need to have production," Wallace said. "Nobody cares why it's not happening or what's going on. We have the ability, we have the players, we have the coaches, we just have to get it done. I think we will. I know we will, as a matter of fact."

There's still plenty of time for Perriman and the Ravens' other wide receivers to turn things around this season, and a big game against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers would go a long way.

Remember when Torrey Smith caught a game-winning touchdown in Pittsburgh during his 2011 rookie season? Smith also struggled with drops at times, but made big plays in clutch situations.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said he's talked to Perriman about his faith in him. Harbaugh has consistently praised the way Perriman works at his craft and his desire to be great and help the team.

"Once Breshad gets going and gets confidence, I really think – I told him this – I really think he's going to take off," Harbaugh said. "He's just going to explode as his talent is going to be there for everyone to see.

"But, you know, you have to make a catch. You know? Make a catch and get yourself going. He's working hard to do that."

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