Marlon Brown just missed a tough catch on a deep pass during last week's mandatory minicamp. As Brown jogged back to the huddle, Head Coach John Harbaugh stopped him to ask why he didn't make the catch.
"If I want to be great, I have to make that play," Brown answered.
"Enough said," Harbaugh replied. "That's all I wanted to hear."
The Ravens head coach is pushing the third-year receiver going into this season. Brown has shown flashes during his first two years, but the Ravens are counting on him to take on even more responsibility this season.
"I have high hopes for him," Harbaugh said. "I really want to see him breakout. … It's time for him to step up and become what he's capable of doing. He's very determined to do that."
Brown has 73 catches for 779 yards and seven touchdowns over his first two seasons. However, he didn't catch a touchdown last year after the arrival of Steve Smith Sr. significantly cut into his playing time.
Now Brown has an opportunity to again find a larger role in the offense after Torrey Smith departed for San Francisco is free agency. Brown, Kamar Aiken and rookie Breshad Perriman all ran alongside Smith and the starters during training camp, and the Ravens are looking for somebody to separate themselves in that group.
"It's very competitive," Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram said. "Marlon has done what he always does, which is make plays."
A natural place to utilize Brown is in the red-zone, where the 6-foot-5 receiver has the frame to create matchup nightmares against defensive backs. He thrived there in 2013, where his seven touchdowns tied a franchise rookie record.
"He's made a lot of plays, and he understands multiple positions," Engram said. "He's a worker and he's a technician who's learning how to continue to hone his craft."
Brown and Harbaugh have talked several times this offseason about their high expectations for this season. He's fighting for playing time at one of the most competitive positions on the roster, and Harbaugh sees potential for him to become a difference maker for the offense.
"He's the head coach and he has faith in me," Brown said. "He has faith and confidence in me, and I appreciate that. At the end of the day, I'm trying to ball for him."