Marquise Brown didn’t look like a rookie playing his first NFL game Thursday night. He looked like a playmaker, exactly what the Ravens had in mind when they made him their first pick in this year’s draft.
With three catches for 17 yards, Brown played into the second quarter in his first game since undergoing February foot surgery. There has been heavy anticipation to see Brown on the field, with Week 1 drawing closer and the Ravens hoping that Brown’s explosiveness can be an important piece of their offense.
This performance was a positive step.
“Man, it felt amazing,” Brown said. “It’s the best day so far. Just being out here – from pregame to being in the game and being with the team – it was just a lot of fun. My expectation was to not make any mistakes and catch every ball that was thrown to me.”
Brown was never targeted on a deep pass, but quarterback Trace McSorley went to Brown on the first play of the game – a 7-yard completion that got Brown into the flow right away. Brown caught two other passes for five yards apiece. One was a sideline reception where Brown showed good concentration, turning quickly to catch a pass that McSorley threw as Brown made his break. The other was a snag in which he had to leap to snare a high pass.
The Ravens also targeted Brown on a two-point conversion play that was nullified by a penalty. Brown ran a post pattern and broke wide open, giving McSorley an easy target, but Orlando Brown Jr. was called for a holding penalty, wiping out the play.
“I knew when they called the play that I was going to be open,” Brown said. “Trace threw a good ball. I thought I had one, but it’s OK. I’m going to get one. I’m going to get one soon.”
Brown also had one rushing attempt that didn’t go well, losing four yards on a jet sweep. The play wasn’t blocked well, and Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham diagnosed it quickly. However, it was another example of how the Ravens plan to get the ball into Brown’s hands in a variety of ways.
If Brown had butterflies, it didn’t show, and even if he does not play in the preseason finale against the Washington Redskins, this showing should help Brown’s confidence heading into the season.