Ravens fans should temper early expectations for Rashod Bateman
By Justin Fried
The Baltimore Ravens are set to see the return of highly-touted rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman in the near future. But while hopes are high that he can make an immediate impact, expectations should probably be tempered.
Bateman quickly made a strong first impression in the spring as one of the standouts from rookie minicamp and OTAs. Ravens fans began envisioning an offense with Bateman serving as one of Lamar Jackson’s top targets.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t gone according to plan so far.
Bateman was sidelined early in training camp with a groin injury and he was forced to sit out most of the summer. As a result, Jackson and Bateman had participated in just one full practice together since the start of training camp.
Needless to say, it might take some time for them to get on the same page.
The Ravens expect Rashod Bateman to return in the near future
Bateman, along with fellow wide receiver Miles Boykin, returned to practice this week after sitting out the first three weeks of the season. Both players are still on short-term IR and will need to be activated within 21 days now that they’ve returned to practice.
The hope is that they will return sooner rather than later, but it’s unclear if that means either will be ready in time for the team’s Week 4 meeting with the Denver Broncos.
Even if Bateman does play in Week 4, it’s important for fans to set realistic expectations for the former Minnesota standout.
Bateman is a rookie wide receiver who hasn’t played in an actual football game in nearly a year. He missed pretty much all of training camp and the preseason and is recovering from groin surgery.
On top of that, he hasn’t had any time to develop chemistry with Lamar Jackson. Jackson has a tendency to rely on his favorite targets, perhaps even more so than your average quarterback, which could make it difficult for new additions to carve out a role in the offense.
Especially not without valuable practice time to gain trust in one another. Bateman will get there eventually, but expecting instant results is setting the young wideout up for failure.
Sometimes it just takes time for a rookie wide receiver to get going too. Look at Justin Jefferson for example. Jefferson put together arguably the greatest single-season performance by a rookie wide receiver in NFL history last season.
But even he started off relatively slow with only five catches for 70 yards through his first two games.
Rashod Bateman will become a focal point of the Ravens offense in the not-too-distant future. But have patience. Don’t set yourself up to be disappointed.