Baltimore Ravens: A lack of John Brown is holding the offense back

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 21: Wide Receiver John Brown #13 of the Baltimore Ravens catches a pass in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on October 21, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 21: Wide Receiver John Brown #13 of the Baltimore Ravens catches a pass in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on October 21, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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John Brown had a fantastic start to the 2018 season, but has cooled off significantly. Getting him involved again could make the Ravens offense elite.

After signing a one-year $5 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens during the 2018 off-season, wide receiver John Brown has easily outplayed his contract. The 28-year old receiver out of Pittsburgh State University had a solid career with the Arizona Cardinals before getting banged up repeatedly, making it hard for him to consistently see the field. It was Brown’s untimely injuries that caused him to sign for such a low deal.

At the time, this contract seemed to be a low-risk, low-reward type of signing. Brown simply felt like a flash in the pan with the Cardinals and it seemed unlikely that he’d be anything outstanding in Baltimore. However, Brown quickly began turning heads and is now prominently advertised by the team for the 2018 season’s Pro Bowl (take a second and vote for your favorite Baltimore Ravens into the Pro Bowl here).

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While quarterback Joe Flacco was under-center, John Brown thrived as the team’s deep-threat. Eventually, he became Flacco’s favorite target and was lighting up defenses on a weekly basis. However, Baltimore’s offense has changed significantly since Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback.

Now, the Ravens are predominately a run-first team with Jackson and company leading the charge. Forgotten about are the wide receivers and no one has been more impacted by this change than John Brown.

Not for lack of trying by John Brown:

Brown opened 2018 hot and had 601 receiving yards through the team’s first nine games. This was while Flacco was captaining the offense. Since the Baltimore’s bye-week, and subsequently when Jackson began starting, Brown has been a complete non-factor. Brown has caught just two passes for 48-yards through three games, including being blanked last week vs. the Atlanta Falcons.

The problem is that John Brown remains a formidable threat for the Ravens offense, he just isn’t being featured enough. Brown received a handful of targets vs. Atlanta, including what could’ve been a long touchdown catch, but Jackson simply wasn’t hitting him. We all knew that Lamar Jackson would need time to adjust to the pro-level of the game, but right now he is holding the entire offense back by failing to connect with “Smokey” Brown.

With how stellar Baltimore’s run-game has been since the team’s week 10 bye-week, the offense is rolling and keeping the team on the higher-end of the score board. Unfortunately, once opposing teams catch up to the Ravens offense, it will be easy to shut them down. This is a very easy fix, however: get John Brown the football.

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John Brown is electric and proved that earlier in the season. Once Lamar Jackson and the offense find a better way to incorporate Brown into the offensive plans, there’s no telling how explosive the unit could be moving forward. The use of Brown could wind-up being the difference in whether or not the Baltimore Ravens appear in the 2018 season’s playoffs.