Marlon Brown's focus since joining the Ravens in late May has been to earn his way onto the roster.
Now that Brown has done that, the undrafted receiver out of Georgia is looking to make an impact this season.
"I want to be a difference maker on the team, whether it's on offense or on special teams," Brown said Sunday before practice. "That's my mindset right now."
Brown found out Saturday that he had made the roster when Head Coach John Harbaugh approached him with the news.
"It wasn't a big conversation," Brown said. "He just walked up to me, shook my hand and said congratulations, and just stay focused and keep grinding. That was about it."
Brown earned his place on the 53-man roster after a strong finish to the preseason. He worked his way up the depth chart over the last month, and ended the preseason taking reps with the starters.
Brown led the Ravens in the preseason with 10 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns, and he didn't even play in the first game against Tampa Bay because he was working his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that he suffered last season at Georgia. The Ravens eased him along slowly, but once he started practicing, his talent was evident.
"I started to get more of a feel for the offense and I felt like I could come in and make a difference," Brown said. "I've been at practice making plays, I've made plays in the preseason games. I'm learning plays more and more every day."
The emergence of Brown and fellow rookie receiver Aaron Mellette led to the Ravens parting ways with other young, but more experienced receivers Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams and David Reed. The talent they showed in the preseason allowed the Ravens to go with the two rookies along with Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Brandon Stokley and Deonte Thompson.
"They're good," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "They're big, they're strong, they're fast, and they're physical. They obviously have some talent. I think they are going to be guys that help us out a lot—in the short term [and] long term. We still have to go out there and play and feed them the ball and see what they can do."
The question now is how much of an impact they will make on offense. The Ravens will count on them to play on special teams, but they have also put themselves into the conversation on offense.
Brown has shown chemistry with Flacco, catching a touchdown pass from Flacco in the third preseason game. At 6-foot-5, Brown is also a big-bodied receiver who could be a red-zone target immediately.
Their playing time on offense will depend on how they practice the next few weeks, and with the stakes elevated in the regular season, Brown and Mellette are out to carry their success of the last month into the games that really matter.
"I would anticipate that those two guys will be a factor going forward," Harbaugh said. "How much they play early or how much they're part of game plans and those things, it's really hard to say. But they put themselves in the mix."