First-round draft pick Rashod Bateman is now in his third week of practice since returning from groin surgery. While fans, teammates, and coaches are eager to see Bateman on Sundays, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said the rookie will likely be eased into game action whenever he is activated from injured reserve.
"He's looking good," Roman said. "As he ramps in, he should do nothing but get better. I don't think we're going to throw him into the fire for every play. I think we're going to build him into the plan on a week-to-week basis. Rashod's going to have a long and fruitful career. This is just the first step. We will integrate him into the plan when the time is right."
Veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) missed his second straight practice Thursday, so Bateman's imminent return may come at an opportune time. However, the Ravens' depth at wide receiver with Devin Duvernay and James Proche has been apparent in recent weeks, and Roman's point about working the rookie in gradually is not surprising.
Jackson said building chemistry with Bateman during game conditions will be different than working together in practice.
"Things always look good in practice; I've got to see it in the game, once we're actually out there," Jackson said. "I can't really tell you off [the] bat right now."
During training camp, Bateman was impressive while running precise routes and creating separation from defensive backs. Marquise "Hollywood" Brown looks forward to seeing Baltimore add Bateman to the mix soon.
"I'm really excited to see what he's going to do," Brown said. "I'm very excited to see when Sammy comes back what all of us are going to do together."
Solution to Slow Starts Being Sought
The Ravens have been shutout in the first quarter for three consecutive games, making their four-game winning streak even more impressive. Before this season, slow starts were unusual for Jackson-led teams.
However, the Ravens began Monday night's game by going three-and-out on their first two possessions – the first time that had ever happened since Jackson became the starting quarterback in 2018.
Roman would like to see the Ravens start quickly and build a lead Sunday, instead of being forced to come from behind again.
"We definitely have to make adjustments," Roman said. "We want to start faster. It's never a finished product. There's certain things that we're really working hard on trying to improve. Every game's different. At the same time, it really matters how you play over the course of four quarters that determine the winner."
Gameplan Centers on Keeping Joey Bosa From Doing 'Bad Things'
With 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hits and two forced fumbles, Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa is off to another strong start as one of the NFL's most disruptive defensive players. Bosa is building an early-season case for the league's Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Roman says a large part of Baltimore's gameplan centers around keeping Bosa out of the backfield.
"Obviously it starts with Bosa up front," Roman said. "This guy's a potential game-wrecker. If you treat him like an average player, bad things are going to happen to you. There's plenty of evidence of that."
A matchup to watch is Bosa against Ravens right tackle Patrick Mekari, who has played excellent football over the past four games. Against the Colts, Mekari was Baltimore's third highest-graded player according to Pro Football Focus, trailing only Mark Andrews and Jackson.
Ravens Dig Deep Into Two-Point Conversion Arsenal
During Monday night's wild comeback, the Ravens went for two points on three occasions after scoring touchdowns. They were successful twice, including a completion from Jackson to Andrews with 46 seconds left in regulation that forced overtime.
While the Ravens always have potential two-point conversion plays handy, Roman may scheme up a few more after calling three in one game.
"We generally walk through those plays during the week. Not all of them get run live," Roman said. "Now you've got to refill the refrigerator for the two-point plays. You open the door and there's nothing in the fridge. Those plays were eaten."
Marquise "Hollywood" Brown Has Comebacks for Bart Scott
Brown looks well on his way to his first 1,000-yard season, and he had a sensational game against the Colts (nine catches, 125 yards, two touchdowns).
However, former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott took an absurd shot at Brown on ESPN's "First Take," saying that Brown wouldn't start for the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, or Green Bay Packers.
Brown fired back at Scott on Twitter and had a little more to say after Thursday's practice.
"Foolishness," Brown said. "For him to be a former player, it kind of did bother me. I don't really care about his opinion."