Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown Is Prepared to Make a 'Big Statement'
The Ravens' struggles drafting wide receivers are well documented. You can say it was their Achilles heel.
But Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is ready to change that narrative, and he is putting the league on notice.
"I'm going to make a statement this year," Brown told Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne. "A big statement."
When you look at the stat line, Brown had a successful rookie season. He totaled 584 receiving yards and tied a franchise rookie record with seven touchdown receptions.
But Brown described to Dunne the pain he endured recovering from a Lisfranc foot injury that required two screws to be placed into his foot.
"I had to try harder than I usually do," Brown said. "To run, for me, is easy. Last year, it wasn't easy. Every step was like, 'Ahhh...' I'm a rookie, so you don't want to think too much. And going out there, I was like, 'How am I going to react if I land on my foot? How am I going to get around him?' So there was a lot to think about."
Brown told Dunne he feels like he has a new foot now that the screws have been removed and hopes to play around 170 to 175 pounds this season. Dunne believes Brown is the kind of speedy, shifty receiver who can develop into the No. 1 option for Lamar Jackson.
"Years past, the Marquise Browns of the world were typecast as slot receivers, return men and gadget novelties and were told they're just too short to ride the roller coaster," Dunne wrote. "Not anymore. The human blur of a receiver is now coveted, a perfect match for a mobile quarterback who forces defenses to cheat forward to shadow a scramble but can also uncork a deep ball the second his blur gains a step on his defender. That's why so many look at Brown and see the potential for him to become an ultimate weapon for his revolutionary [quarterback]."
After all, he's the receiver who Jackson pushed for the Ravens to draft.
"Exactly one year ago, Brown reveal[ed], the Ravens asked Jackson who he wanted as his No. 1 receiver," Dunne wrote. "Jackson told them either Brown in that draft or Jerry Jeudy the following year. So before that 2019 draft, Jackson let Brown know via text: 'We're coming to get you.'"
One of Brown's best games came in the team's worst moment last season, catching seven passes for 126 yards in the divisional round playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Now, Brown heads into the season confident off his injury with his sights set on a Lombardi Trophy.
"Hey, my mom always said, 'If you want something, you have to speak it into existence,'" Brown said. "So, Super Bowl next year. The Ravens. You have to speak it into existence. ... It's going to happen. It's going to happen, man."
Marshal Yanda Looks Unrecognizable; Talks Post-Retirement Life
Adele isn't the only star who has made a stunning transformation. Former Raven Marshal Yanda called into the "Pat McAfee Show" to talk about post-retirement life, but his mere appearance was the most astonishing part of the interview.
Yanda looks almost unrecognizable from his playing days just a few months ago and told McAfee he's already down to 248 pounds.
Yanda said he knew his body was put on notice after breaking his ankle early in the 2017 season and undergoing offseason shoulder surgery shortly after.
"The last two years, I've been mentally prepared to retire if I got hurt again," Yanda said. "Because at that point in , I was getting hurt a lot where my body was telling me something. I don't want to push it too far. … Going into '19 I was like, 'You know what? Take it for what it is, and this is going to be it.' Just because I didn't want to risk having another injury."
Why would Yanda retire after such a great year? He reiterated that he wanted to retire healthy. He called the rehab life "draining," something that he didn't want to go through again.
"I get it, trust me," Yanda said. "... That was the most fun I'd ever had in a regular-season atmosphere, but at the end of the day, I still had 13 seasons. I still had eight surgeries on my body. … The wear and tear is still there in my body, and I was just not willing to risk another injury for another year."
Steve Smith Sr. Weighs in on Antonio Brown and Ravens' Passing Game
Last weekend, Antonio Brown shared a picture of himself wearing a Ravens jersey on Snapchat that reignited discussion about whether he could be a fit.
Former Raven Steve Smith Sr. joined 105.7 the Fan’s “Inside Access” and said he "doesn't agree" with the idea based on the current locker room in Baltimore.
"I don't necessarily think it is a bad or good idea, but I don't agree with bringing him in based on that locker room," Smith said. "I was in that locker room. I was a Raven. … I know the expectation that [Owner] Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti wants. ... I don't believe it would be in the best interest of the Ravens, based on not my personal opinion, but based on the data that's out there."
General Manager Eric DeCosta expressed confidence in the team's receivers on a conference call with PSL owners last week.
"[W]e think if you look at our team over the last two, three years, we've done a lot to address skill positions: targets for Lamar, guys that can make plays," DeCosta said. "We feel really, really good about that. We love the mix of personalities and players and the upside and leadership that we've got. And I think Lamar's got a great chemistry with those guys as well. We think our younger guys are going to continue to make a jump."
The Ravens were the NFL's leading rushers in the regular season, averaging over 200 yards a game. The passing game was efficient, but Smith questioned how it will continue to develop.
"I hope it evolves, but if it doesn't it's not because Lamar can't do it," Smith said. "It's not that he can't, it's more of in this offense that emphasizes so much of the run game that they have to start carving up sometimes just to have the trial and error of the passing game that they don't really utilize a lot with the wide receivers."
Marcus Peters, Tyreek Hill a Top WR-CB Matchup to Watch
The release of the NFL schedule has pundits highlighting their top games to watch throughout the regular season.
On his list is a battle of two former teammates: Marcus Peters and Tyreek Hill.
"Ravens vs. Chiefs will be a matchup every fan pays attention to because of quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes II and Jackson, but another head-to-head battle to watch is when Peters—the game's best cornerback when it comes to creating turnovers—tries to stop Hill," Miller wrote. "Hill's speed is almost unstoppable, but Peters has the quickness and vision to stand a chance against the NFL's fastest man. With another five interceptions last season, running his five-year total to 27, Peters is a player Mahomes will want to avoid."
Fans will be eager to watch this matchup. When the two teams faced off in Week 3 last season, Hill didn't play because of a shoulder injury, and Peters was still with the Los Angeles Rams.
Since coming over to Baltimore, Peters has made an immediate impact. He tallied three interceptions in 10 games before locking up a three-year extension. His tenacity and aggressiveness make him the perfect candidate to match up against the fastest receiver in the NFL.
If there's any more reason to tune into the Week 3 thriller, Miller said Marlon Humphrey vs. Sammy Watkins is another matchup to watch.
Humphrey and Peters earned first-team All-Pro honors last season as the league's top cornerback duo. They'll do their best to make life difficult for Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champs.