Ravens: Sammy Watkins’ return will provide a big boost to the offense

Sammy Watkins, Ravens (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
Sammy Watkins, Ravens (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens could see their best passing offense in Week 9 when wide receiver Sammy Watkins returns to the field.

Watkins returned to practice on Thursday, which marks his first on-field appearance since injuring his thigh in Week 5.

What will also be a first? Watkins, Rashod Bateman, and Marquise Brown taking the field together this season.

There’s no reason Watkins should miss Week 9’s matchup, so that means the Ravens’ top-three wide receivers will be featured in the starting lineup for the first time in 2021.

Baltimore’s offense has been performing just fine in Watkins’ absence, but the return of the veteran wideout should only boost an already well-oiled unit.

A Ravens passing offense that ranked last in the league in 2020 has improved as it needed to when Baltimore realized the running game wouldn’t get them far this season.

The Ravens have at least been passing the ball more in 2021, recording a pass rate that has slightly exceeded expectations so far.

The Ravens could see their top-three wide receivers on the field in Week 9

With both Bateman and Watkins missing games, it’s remarkable that the Ravens have still been able to play a fairly efficient game in the air.

A lot of credit goes to Lamar Jackson as well as the occasional clutch heroics of Mark Andrews, but now, as all three receivers potentially start against the Minnesota Vikings, Jackson will have his pick of the crop.

Watkins enters his eighth year in the league but his first with the Ravens. In five games, he’s recorded 18 catches for 292 yards, though he has yet to find the end zone.

He’s joined by the team leader in receiving yards, Marquise Brown, along with rookie Bateman who’s already recorded 109 yards in two games.

Watkins’ best seasons may be behind him, when he played for the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, but the Ravens picked him up earlier this year to improve the passing game — and that’s exactly what Watkins will set out to do.

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Each receiver’s specific role in the passing offense has yet to be fleshed out and there’s no telling what the chemistry will look like. Still, Ravens fans should be rubbing their hands eagerly for Week 9.

It’s time to see just how good Baltimore’s passing game can be.