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Lamar Jackson, Ravens Talk About Reunion With Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown

From left: QB Lamar Jackson, Arizona Cardinals WR Marquise Brown
From left: QB Lamar Jackson, Arizona Cardinals WR Marquise Brown

The Ravens can dig back into their memory this week just as much as the tape to get ready for the Arizona Cardinals' top threat in Week 8.

Baltimore will face former Ravens wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown for the first time this Sunday in Arizona after he was traded last offseason.

The decision to part ways was mutual, as Brown requested a trade and General Manager Eric DeCosta obliged, dealing Brown to Arizona in exchange for a first-round pick, which netted center Tyler Linderbaum.

Brown was the Ravens' top wide receiver then and he's Arizona's top receiver now. He leads the Cardinals in receptions (32), receiving yards (383) and touchdowns (3). He has more than double the number of targets as any other receiver on their team.

While there's obviously familiarity there, and it wouldn't be surprising to see pregame hugs shared Sunday at State Farm Stadium, the Ravens are taking a business-like approach to their reunion.

"You kind of look at it from a standpoint of an opponent receiver at this point," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He looks good. We've always respected him as a player, [and] we love him as a person. Marquise is a great guy, and he looks good out there. He's their No. 1 target threat for sure."

The trade, which was announced during the 2022 NFL Draft but had been agreed to (and been kept secret) well before then, took many by surprise. Brown was set to enter his fourth season and had topped 1,000 receiving yards the previous year.

Brown was especially close with Lamar Jackson and won a lot of games in Baltimore, but he had a chance to start fresh in a new offensive system and reunite with his college quarterback, Kyler Murray, who he had loads of big-play success with at Oklahoma.

"That's my boy," Jackson said. "It's going to be different. It's going to be very different, but I'm happy for him – no doubt.

"That's his decision. He has to feed his family at the end of the day, and if he believes it's the right decision for him, that's on him. It's not on me. It's not my decision to make. He would've still been here if it was up to me."

While the Ravens were short-handed at wide receiver last season after Rashod Bateman's season-ending foot injury, they're well stocked now. Jackson has a new rookie first-round receiver, Zay Flowers.

Flowers, who is off to a historic start with at least 50 scrimmage yards in his first seven games, something only one other receiver (Bengals' JaMarr Chase) has accomplished since 1970. Linderbaum has been a fantastic addition in the middle of the offensive line.

Things haven't worked out as Brown likely envisioned, however. Murray tore his ACL 11 games into the season and the Cardinals faltered to a 4-13 record. Brown also missed five games due to injury and finished with 67 catches for 709 yards and three touchdowns.

Murray isn't back to game action yet, Brown has a new head coach (a former defensive coordinator), new offensive coordinator, and the Cardinals currently have one win. He'll be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

The Ravens know Brown, who played his best in big games in Baltimore, will be looking to have a strong showing against his former team.

"Obviously a guy we have to keep a lot of eyes on and know where he's lined up at all times," Marlon Humphrey said. "Once a Raven always a Raven, but when you're on the other team, not so much. It will be exciting to match up against him."

The Ravens defensive backs faced off against Brown many times in practice. Now they'll do it when it really counts.

"Being around Hollywood for a couple years, you kind of know what he likes to do," safety Geno Stone said. "He's the type of guy to try to take the top off the defense, you know what kind of routes he likes. But at the end of the day, we have to go out there and play our defense. Hollywood is a really good player, and you just have to make sure you control him."

Coaches Aren't Letting Up After Impressive Win

The Ravens are coming off their most convincing win of the season, but the coaching staff found plenty of room for improvement.

During meetings this week, Humphrey said Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald hasn't taken his foot off the gas.

"We kind of all wanted a shutout this past Sunday," Humphrey said about Baltimore's 38-6 victory over Detroit. "We're always striving to be great. I think that's the biggest thing with Mike. It's almost impossible to be comfortable with Mike Macdonald as your DC. Based off our meeting Tuesday, you would've thought we lost by 20. The same for Harbs."

Lamar Jackson said the offensive meetings have taken on the same business-like tenor. Though he was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, Jackson said he had a detailed film session with Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin looking for ways to improve.

"(He was) pretty much critiquing me for the things I did wrong, which I do to myself," Jackson said. "I'm pretty cool with that. There's really no praise in the meeting room. It's how you can get better."

Jackson said he's not worried about the Ravens taking the Cardinals (1-6) lightly. The Cardinals upset the Dallas Cowboys at home in Week 3 when the Cowboys were being talked about as one of the best teams in the league, much like Baltimore is now.

"You have a trap game or something like that when you're being complacent," Jackson said. "I believe that's when that stuff pops into your brain. I don't believe our guys are like that. We know it's any given Sunday. It's the NFL. Anybody can be beaten. We're going out there to Arizona and fight our butt off."

Ravens Will Discuss Possibilities as Trade Deadline Approaches

The NFL trade deadline is Oct. 31, and the Ravens have made several major in-season trades during their recent history.

Last year they traded for All-Pro inside linebacker Roquan Smith, who has taken the defense to another level with his play and leadership. In 2019 they traded for Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters, who immediately became a catalyst in the secondary and helped Baltimore to the best regular season (14-2) in franchise history.

General Manager Eric DeCosta will undoubtedly spend plenty of time on the phone until the trade deadline passes, as the organization continues its never-ending quest to improve the roster.

"We all have conversations about everything that can happen, and we'll talk about all those things," Harbaugh said.

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