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Late for Work: Michael Irvin: Odell Beckham Jr. Rounding Into Shape at Perfect Time

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) in action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in Baltimore.

Michael Irvin: Odell Beckham Jr. Rounding Into Shape at Perfect Time

Odell Beckham Jr. has shown flashes of his vintage form over the past month and it couldn't come at a better time for the Ravens, Fox Sports analyst Michael Irvin said.

Irvin contended that Beckham's emergence will go a long way in helping Baltimore overcome the loss of All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews, who suffered an ankle injury in Thursday's win over the Bengals that might be season-ending.

"You lose Mark Andrews, but you pick up a different place that you gotta start featuring now in this offense," Irvin said on "Undisputed." "This offense is a run offense, No. 1 run offense in the National Football League. But there are going to be so many opportunities that come off that No. 1 run offense, and Odell Beckham is rounding into shape in the perfect time. … This takes Lamar [Jackson]'s game to another level."

Beckham has 251 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 15 receptions (16.7 yards per catch) over his past four games, including 116 yards against Cincinnati last week. It was the veteran wide receiver's first 100-yard game since the NFC Championship Game in January 2022.

Beckham's hands were never in question, but what he has been able to do with his legs has been a revelation.

"When the Ravens signed him to a one-year, $15 million deal, they were confident Beckham's route-running ability and savviness would help him get open. They knew he was going to catch the passes that were thrown to him," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "What they didn't know is how well Beckham could still run after dealing with significant knee injuries and sitting out the entire 2022 season.

"The 31-year-old may not be running as well as he did when he was selected to three straight Pro Bowls during his time with the New York Giants, but he's shown a nice burst in recent weeks. He ran past the Cleveland Browns secondary for a 40-yard touchdown in Week 10. In catching four passes for 116 yards against the Bengals, Beckham not only got behind the Cincinnati defense for a 51-yard reception, but he also ran past or around quite a few defenders after catches."

Beckham said after Thursday's game that a decision by Head Coach John Harbaugh and General Manager Eric DeCosta to pull him out of the Week 2 game and sit him out the subsequent two games "changed the entire trajectory of my season."

"Early on in the season, I was hurt, and I just couldn't be myself. I didn't have the explosion; I couldn't move the way that I wanted to," Beckham said. " … I had the time to get my legs underneath me, and we're just trying to go up from here."

The Baltimore Banner's Kyle Goon wrote: "According to the NFL's Next Gen Stats, Beckham got just 2.68 yards of average separation (the league average is about 3 yards). But he has been getting open more often, showing burst off the line of scrimmage and coming up with explosive plays. There were a few times this season when Jackson simply seemed to be throwing go-get-'em balls to Beckham (the fatal interception against Pittsburgh leaps to mind), but now it seems there's more of a connection between the two. It would probably be wrong to expect weekly superstar performances from Beckham, but his being a real threat in this offense is a big deal without Andrews."

Beckham is dealing with a shoulder injury that he suffered in Thursday's game, but Harbaugh said yesterday that "it's not going to be a long-term thing."

"[The injury] is not ideal at a time when he's gaining momentum and finding a place in Baltimore's offense," Zrebiec wrote. "But it would be far more concerning for the Ravens if it was an injury that impacts his legs."

Jackson's Evolution This Season Goes Beyond Statistics

The Baltimore Sun’s Brian Wacker took an in-depth look at how Jackson's evolution as a quarterback this season goes beyond his impressive stats.

Wacker spoke with first-year Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin, who praised Jackson's work ethic and attention to detail as he has learned new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's system.

"Lamar's like any other student," Martin said. "He comes in with his bookbag, takes out his notepad, takes out his pen or pencil and just about every word that comes out of my mouth he's taking it in.

"If there's something that hits his brain a certain way, he'll ask a question. He's very good about being clear to make sure there's clarity to whatever it is that you're saying. He's not shy about asking questions. He doesn't play around in meetings. He's a creative thinker. He's meticulous about things. When you put a play in, he has this blank stare, because he's playing the play in his mind. A lot of guys can't do that."

Martin added that Jackson is a quick learner.

"He doesn't need a lot of reps to learn things and he sees the game a certain way," Martin said. "Coming in, the terminology, once we got over that bridge of what we used to call it to what we call it now, things that are different, things that are new, introducing him to those concepts and ideas, it all became his own from that point on. We talked about empowering the quarterback as far as protections, as far as being able to change routes. He loved it."

Ravens Thankful for Their Depth

In the spirit of Thanksgiving,’s Jeffri Chadiha named one thing every team has to be thankful for entering Week 12. For the Ravens, it's depth.

Despite injuries to key players, the Ravens are the No. 1 seed in the AFC thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last night. It's a testament to the roster DeCosta has built.

"The Ravens have dealt with their share of injuries this season," Chadiha wrote. "Running back J.K. Dobbins went down with a torn Achilles in Week 1, and yet Baltimore still has the best rushing attack in the NFL. The absence of safety Marcus Williams for several games earlier this year opened the door for Geno Stone to become the league's co-leader in interceptions with six. Now, tight end Mark Andrews is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a fractured fibula and torn ankle ligaments. It's a huge blow to this roster. History also says Baltimore will find a way to survive it."

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