After a three-hour practice, Ravens wide receiver Marlon Brown signed a couple autographs, spoke briefly to reporters and then jogged back to the practice field to catch more passes from the JUGS machine.
Brown, the second-year player who set a Ravens franchise rookie record in touchdown receptions last season, had his best practice of training camp Sunday, making a series of contested catches. It was another positive step forward for a player who struggled to hang onto the ball in the various offseason minicamps but now appears to be hitting his stride.
“At the end of the day, I just want to be a guy who is consistent, who is reliable, who you can count on everyday, not just on certain days,” Brown said. “I just want to keep being consistent every day.”
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The Ravens’ offseason acquisition of Steve Smith and the re-signing of Jacoby Jones made Brown the forgotten man in the team’s passing offense. But the 23-year-old, who made the team last training camp as an undrafted free agent, is coming off a season in which he had 49 catches for 524 yards and seven touchdowns while starting 12 games.
Brown had a relatively quiet start to training camp this year, but his play has picked up significantly in the past couple days. In today’s practice, he beat cornerback Asa Jackson to haul in a long touchdown catch from Joe Flacco. The 6-foot-5, 214-pound receiver also made a juggling catch along the sideline and then turned up field for a big gain.
“He’s made great strides,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Brown. “Marlon made some circus catches today and had a couple of catch-and-runs on crossing routes. You can use that big body. He’s got catch radius, right? It’s hard for a linebacker to get a hand on the ball, especially the way Joe [Flacco] and Tyrod [Taylor] are placing it. He’s done a good job.”
Brown acknowledged that he was frustrated with his several minicamp drops and vowed to improve that aspect of his game. So far, so good.
“I was big on not dropping a ball anymore. Just practice catching, hands placement, everything,” he said. “… I’m still young, so I’m trying to improve on everything in my game. I just go back and watch the film, and I see things that I’m doing right, and I see things that I’m doing wrong. I work hard on all my weaknesses.”