Mike Preston

Mike Preston’s observations on Ravens’ rookie receiver Marquise Brown

I spent most of Sunday afternoon’s practice observing Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, the Ravens’ rookie wide receiver and the team’s top 2019 draft pick out of Oklahoma.

Brown was going to be limited in practice for the second straight day because the Ravens don’t want to overwork him in his attempt to come back from a Lisfranc (foot) injury, but it was time for the team to get some sort of early evaluation.


Brown got in about a quarter of work as far as live plays, and he is faster than he appears on film. He has several gears, which all good receivers must have, and he has great catch-up speed. He caught only one long pass but easily ran down quarterback Lamar Jackson’s attempt, even though Jackson let the pass go early in the route.

Brown catches the ball with his hands and not his body. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but late Ravens receiver Michael Jackson initially had problems with hand placement, and so did former Ravens Torrey Smith and Breshad Perriman.


Brown is still getting comfortable with planting his feet into the ground to make cuts. He was timid early in practice but became more efficient as time wore on. He is good at getting his hips down going into breaks and easily accelerates coming out of them.

The Ravens will use him in several ways, either on the outside or in the slot, and I’m sure he’ll get his share of touches on reverses, option plays, quick screens and hitches. It should be hard for opposing teams to stay with Brown on short-to-intermediate crossing routes, though cornerback Marlon Humphrey did a good job of that Sunday, even knocking down a pass or two.

It was interesting to see veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith working with Brown, especially teaching him how to use his hands and arms to get separation in press coverage. At 5 feet 9 and 170 pounds, Brown can’t shield or push into cornerbacks like a big receiver. He has to be more technically sound, and the Ravens are going to have to use him in motion at times to allow him to escape freely at the line of scrimmage.

There have been questions about whether Brown will play Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers in preseason game No. 2. If he does, he won’t play much. After 26 minutes of practice Sunday, Brown was already gassed.

He is going to need time to get into playing shape. The Ravens are smart in bringing Brown around slowly. Clearly, more progress needs to be made before he goes at full tilt.