After Being Cleared, Challenges Still Await for Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown
Lights. Camera. Hollywood.
The Ravens announced Tuesday that Marquise "Hollywood" Brown passed his physical and he is finally making his highly-anticipated training camp debut today.
The first-round pick is expected to be a significant weapon in the Ravens' passing game this season, but The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec took an in-depth look at the challenges Brown could face moving forward.
It's been a long road to recovery for Brown since suffering a Lisfranc foot injury in January, and completely getting over that injury could be difficult.
Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith underwent surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury in 2014. Smith played in just eight games that season and told Zrebiec he still feels some complications almost five years later.
"[I]t is a reminder of the challenges that the former Oklahoma standout will face when he's fully cleared to return to the field," Zrebiec wrote. "Making the transition from college to the pros and making an immediate impact has proven especially difficult for recent first-round receivers. Brown has to find a way to buck that trend, all while dealing with an injury that can linger."
Brown's speed is one of his biggest strengths, and it's a reason why doctors and the Ravens will be sure to ease him back with caution. But there's also plenty of reason for optimism.
Along with Smith, Zrebiec noted that former Ravens offensive tackle Ricky Wagner started all 16 games in 2015 after suffering a Lisfranc injury the previous year.
"The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania released a study in 2015 that concluded that nearly 93 percent of NFL players who sustained injuries to the mid-foot area returned to play in less than 15 months and with no downturn in their performance," Zrebiec wrote.
While Brown hasn't been able to practice up to this point, he's been active during training camp and looks to be putting in extensive work on the weights.
"When he first steps onto the practice field this summer, all eyes will be on him," Zrebiec wrote. "By the start of the regular season, a Ravens team that prioritized adding offensive speed and explosiveness around Jackson needs its first-round pick to be up to speed."
How Ed Reed Became One of the NFL's Greatest Safeties
Ed Reed is considered one of the greatest safeties in NFL history, and he'll officially cement his legacy as a Pro Football Hall of Famer on Saturday.
In the countdown to the induction ceremony in Canton, ESPN's Jamison Hensley looked back at how Reed got to that point.
Reed's arrival in Baltimore happened almost unexpectedly. Holding the 24th pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, the Ravens watched all 23 of their top prospects come off the board.
"The team's top targets were Boston College running back William Green, Arizona State offensive tackle Levi Jones and Northwestern linebacker Napoleon Harris," Hensley wrote. "But Jones went to Cincinnati at No. 10, and Green went to Cleveland at No. 16. Baltimore was set to take Harris with the No. 24 pick until the Oakland Raiders selected him one spot earlier."
The only Hall of Famer in the draft class happened to fall right into Ozzie Newsome's lap.
Reed patrolled the final third of the field in Baltimore for 11 seasons and became a staple on the Ravens' dominant defenses. Analysts, along with former coaches and players,[comma] praised Reed's ball-hawking instincts.
"He's just one of the best all-around players to ever put on an NFL uniform, cleary to put on a Baltimore Ravens uniform," ESPN's Louis Riddick said.
"You're talking about one of the smartest, one of the most instinctive secondary players to ever play in the history of the NFL," Riddick said. "... And when you think about Reed, you think about just big, big plays … You knew this; the play wasn't over after he intercepted the football. He was probably going to take it to the house on you, and they were going to be celebrating down there in Baltimore."
NFL.com's Brian Baldinger dove deep into the film and broke down Reed's ability to decipher and bait some of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks. Reed totaled 64 interceptions in his career, and he was just as dangerous when he got the ball in his hands.
"Ed was just so fun, and you knew every time the ball hit his hands, he was going to turn into a punt returner," Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis told 105.7 the Fan's 'Scott & Jeremy.' "He made magic with it. And I'm telling you, I had the best seat in the house to see arguably one of the greatest football players of all time … He's everything to me man, and I'm just excited to see my baby boy do his thing."
Lewis said he and Reed would study film together immensely, spending many sleepless nights at Lewis' home game-planning for opposing quarterbacks.
"He wanted to chase greatness early," Lewis said. "He was OK with changing everything he knew early to just follow everything that I said. ... So when you say Ed is in Canton, I'm like, 'Yeah, he's supposed to be there. He worked to be there.'"
Michael Vick, Former Players Weigh in on Lamar Jackson
Head Coach John Harbaugh's recent comments on Lamar Jackson's run game have sparked plenty of conversation throughout the national media airways.
As previously mentioned in "Late for Work," analysts have offered varying opinions on Jackson's development and the Ravens' new-look offense.
Fox Sports' Michael Vick sees it as a work in progress.
"This is going to have to happen in phases," Vick said. "Every quarter of the season we are going to have to watch this closely because if they're going to run the ball effectively … the first quarter of this season is going to be rough. ... He's going to have to throw the ball in this offense in order to win football games."
Vick said Jackson can't run as much as he did last season. Owner Steve Bisciotti, Harbaugh and the coaching staff have been vocal about developing Jackson as a passer, and he's shown improvements.
FS1's Greg Jennings and Marcellus Wiley were more optimistic than Vick about the gameplan the Ravens are putting together.
"They already run the ball really well and effectively," Jennings said. "So they've committed to being who they are, they've always been that. Now, they understand … there's a progression to this quarterback position. We don't have a Patrick Mahomes who is going to come out here and sling the ball everywhere … But they do have a quarterback that will you honor him. So why not do what's best for him and allowing him to utilize his legs?"
Wiley: "It's a smart play right here if you're looking at his skill set and what you're trying to get out of him, and what's best for this team."
Ozzie Newsome Offers Insight During Time as GM
Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome is one of the most well-respected NFL figures and recently spoke at Constellation Energy's Baltimore Executive Forum about his experiences on and off the field.
"During the talk, Newsome reiterated on multiple occasions the importance of playing as a member of a team, always choosing the best player over the best immediate fit and choosing players who have a passion for the game," Baltimore Business Journal's Zach Phillips wrote.
Newsome also shared insight on changes the NFL's competition committee is making ahead of the 2019 season.
"[Newsome] noted that game rules have been altered to better protect players," Phillips wrote. "Team workouts are also now more spread out and limited to certain times of the day to ensure better player health."
- ESPN's bold training camp prediction for the Ravens is about veteran Pernell McPhee. "McPhee is back with Baltimore after recording no sacks with the Redskins last season. But the Ravens, who lost their top two pass-rushers last season, have been impressed with McPhee. He has been moving better than expected, and has even caught the eye of the Ravens owner. McPhee looks like he will take advantage of every opportunity to make this team."
- ESPN and Pro Football Focus picked Jimmy Smith as the Ravens' top bounce-back candidate in 2019.