Marlon Brown spent last year with his eyes wide open.
The former undrafted wideout came into his sophomore season knowing that the arrival of veteran Steve Smith Sr. would likely cut into his playing time, but he wanted to find a way to make the most of his opportunity.
"I was taking notes," Brown said Wednesday after finishing a workout at the Ravens voluntary offseason conditioning program. "I was taking notes because I knew that the time was going to come. And I felt like once that time comes, I better be ready. Last year I was trying to get ready and play.
"Now I feel like the time is here. I just have to prove myself."
Brown is no longer slated to be watching Smith from the sidelines.
Instead, he could be in the starting lineup alongside him depending on what the Ravens do over the next few months. With Torrey Smith's departure to San Francisco, Brown is now in line for a significantly increased workload in his third NFL season.
"It was really hard for me [to see Torrey Smith leave] because we were really close. He was like my big brother on and off the field," Brown said. "But I was talking to him, and he was like, 'You're young, but your time is going to come.' And now it's here. I feel like I just have to capitalize on my opportunity."
Brown also emphasized that he's not the only receiver looking at theupcoming season as an opportunity to make a larger impact. The Ravens have a young receiving corps with Michael Campanaro, Kamar Aiken and Jeremy Butler also in the mix, and the group has heard all the talk about the Ravens needing to spend a high draft pick on another wideout.
"I feel like it's our time as a receiving group to prove to the world that we're here, we can play," Brown said. "All of us are like, 'It's our time.'"
Brown is coming off a season where he caught 24 passes for 255 yards and no touchdowns. His rookie year, he had 49 catches for 524 yards and seven scores. Brown saw much more action during that rookie campaign, starting 12 games compared to one last season.
Brown was asked whether he felt he was forgotten.
"I didn't feel I was forgotten," Brown quickly shot back. "Steve came in, and he's a future Hall of Famer, and I had no beef, no problem. Steve helped me out a lot. "I'm a team guy. Small me, big team."
The team may now need more production out of Brown to keep the offense humming after one of the best years in franchise history. Brown could be a focal point in the passing game under new Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman, and that's a role he's also excited to embrace.
"I definitely feel like it could be a big year for me," Brown said. "I feel like I've grown. I've been playing in the league for three years. I feel like if you do anything for an extended period time, you're obviously going to get better at it. I've gotten better all around."