Says Brown: "My vertical isn't even that high. But if somebody is coming at me, it's obviously higher."
On Oct. 19, wide receiver Marlon Brown warmed up for the Ravens' Week 7 game against the Atlanta Falcons with the rest of his teammates.
Only problem was he was scratched minutes earlier. There was a miscommunication, so Brown went back to the locker room, changed out of his uniform and watched from the sideline.
Oh, how things have changed.
On Sunday against Jacksonville, Brown led the Ravens receivers with five catches for 66 yards. He's arguably been the most consistent performer of anyone on the unit over the past several weeks.
"Marlon has played great," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He's made some clutch catches and some big plays and has really done a great job for us.
"He's rounding into form a little bit. He's healthy and he's been practicing really well, and it's showing up on Sunday. He has a great catch radius, and he goes up and makes some catches for us."
Brown had a breakout rookie season in which he tied the Ravens' franchise rookie record with seven touchdowns. With Anquan Boldin gone and Dennis Pitta injured for much of the year, the undrafted rookie Brown was thrown into the fire and caught 49 passes for 524 yards.
Brown entered his sophomore season knowing he would see fewer opportunities. Steve Smith Sr. arrived, giving the Ravens their two starters outside with Torrey Smith. Brown was also competing for snaps with Jacoby Jones, emerging Kamar Aiken and the tight ends.
"I handled it like a pro because I understood what was happening. Steve is a 14-year vet. I didn't have a problem learning from Steve, or from Torrey, or anybody else for that matter," Brown said.
"Obviously it's tough because last year I was used to getting the ball. But at the end of the day, I'm still young, I'm still growing. It is what it is. I wasn't mad or upset about it."
Brown has kept plugging away despite the diminished role, and now he's making a big impact down the Ravens' stretch run.
Since being inactive against the Falcons, Brown has made 18 receptions for 182 yards. Those aren't tremendously gaudy stats, but they've been clutch and impressive.
Brown has caught every pass that's come his way – 18 targets, 18 catches. Of those grabs, 11 have been for first downs. He's had at least one catch for 10 yards or more in each game but one.
"It's just the coverages," Brown said. "It's the way teams are playing us because of the run game being so great right now. Torrey and Steve are on the outside, so you have to respect that, too."
And what's his mindset on third down?
"Third down, that's the money down. You've got to be perfect on third down," he said.
Brown has also added some highlight-reel snags to his resume. The 6-foot-5 target is turning into a high-flyer, both with and without the ball in his hands.
There was a one-handed running grab on a ball thrown behind him to convert a first down against San Diego. Then he made a leaping catch later in the same game that left him with a concussion. He still made the play, an 8-yard grab to move the chains.
Brown's signature play came a week later in Miami.
The Ravens were trailing by three points and facing a third-and-11 deep in Miami territory. Brown caught the ball on a crossing pattern and leapt over safety Louis Delmas to get the first down. Baltimore took the lead on the next play with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Aiken.
Brown says he's been jumping over defenders since his high school days when kids started trying to chop him down at the legs.
"My vertical is not even that high. It's like 33 or 34 [inches]. But if somebody is coming at me or I have to dunk on somebody, it's obviously higher," he said with a laugh.
"[That Miami play] is definitely in the top three of all the plays I've made so far in my career. I watched it on replay. I was kind of mad at myself because I should have cleared him, but I got clipped on my right foot."
The one thing that hasn't come yet for Brown is a touchdown. After seven last year, he has yet to reach pay dirt this season. But if Brown has learned anything this year, it's that patience eventually pays.
"Hard work pays off," Brown said. "At the end of the day, when the ball comes your way, you can make plays. I've just got to keep making them and I'll get there."