Ravens still ‘want the ball’ in WR Devin Duvernay’s hands

Ravens, Devin Duvernay (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Ravens, Devin Duvernay (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens wide receiver corps remains the thinnest unit on the team, and much of the group has failed to deliver so far this season.

James Proche and Tylan Wallace have served as little more than backup pieces, playing in 15 games combined but posting just nine catches in total.

DeSean Jackson dealt with an injury in his first game in Baltimore and will struggle to stay healthy going forward. Demarcus Robinson put together a spectacular 100-plus yard receiving game in Week 10 that was out of character nonetheless.

One wide receiver who boomed early yet has since fallen short of expectations is Devin Duvernay, the player who arguably benefitted most from Rashod Bateman’s unfortunate injury.

The former third-rounder got in the red zone early in the season, scoring three touchdowns in the first three games, but over the last four weeks, he’s become one of the team’s least-targeted players.

In Week 11’s bumpy win against the Carolina Panthers, Duvernay recorded one catch for three yards, his sole target in the game, despite playing 84 percent of offensive snaps.

Head coach John Harbaugh touched upon Duvernay’s lack of participation in the passing game, placing some of the blame on the coaches for not getting the ball in his hands.

Ravens’ Devin Duvernay has fizzled out after a promising start to 2022

Harbaugh told reporters:

"“We’ve got to say to ourselves, as coaches, ‘We need him [Duvernay] involved. We need to find a way to get him the ball.’ So, we understand it. It doesn’t always go to a guy even when you call it towards a guy, but by the same token, we’ve got to keep chasing that, because we want the ball in his hands.”"

It was a welcome surprise to see Robinson explode in Week 11, and the veteran wideout has led the Ravens in targets for the past two weeks.

After Bateman’s injury, there was at least some optimism surrounding Duvernay’s ability to step up and assume WR1 duties, whether it was by involving him in more running plays in a Deebo-esque role or snapping quick throws to him out wide.

Duvernay has the quickness and pass-catching abilities to thrive even in Baltimore’s run-heavy scheme, and his underwhelming performances for most of the season can largely be attributed to his lack of usage.

He hasn’t been able to generate as much chemistry with Lamar Jackson as of late, which is something the two need to work on in the second half of the season.

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Jackson will always look to rely on his legs and on trusty target Mark Andrews, but Devin Duvernay still has time to prove he can be a reliable top wideout and make a bigger impact this year.