Just a few months removed from being one of the Ravens' top pass catchers, second-year receiver Marlon Brown says he feels good about his role in the offense coming out of the preseason.
"I feel like it's going pretty well," Brown said. "When they called my number, I made a play. That's pretty much the mindset I have for this offense. I want to go in and contribute, whether it's blocking or catching the ball."
Brown's 2013 season was one of the bright spots for the Ravens' offense. He caught 49 balls for 524 yards, ranking third and second on the team in each category. His seven touchdowns set a team rookie record.
But since then, Brown has seen the team's scheme and personnel change around him. The addition of veteran receiver Steve Smith adds a player above him on the depth chart, and the prevalence of pass-catching tight ends and fullbacks mean some of his looks will likely go to tight end Dennis Pitta and second-year fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
After he was targeted once in the preseason opener against San Francisco, Brown made his only two catches of the preseason against the Dallas Cowboys. He was targeted twice in the third preseason game against the Washington Redskins, and was inactive for the final game against New Orleans.
Eleven players had more catches than Brown during the preseason. Some, including wide receiver Jeremy Butler (injured reserve) and tight end Nathan Overbay (released), are no longer with the team. Others, like receivers Deonte Thompson, Kamar Aiken, and Michael Campanaro, rackedd up yardage in the fourth game, which Brown didn't play.
But Brown said the multiple responsibilities each receiver has in the system could help him get on the field in different situations this season.
"It's awesome," he said. "I love doing short routes, deep routes, medium routes, everything. I'm getting better in all those areas, and that's a plus for us because we have guys that can do all those things — not just a deep guy, not just a guy to do under routes, not just a guy who does short intermediate routes. It's good for us."
Brown said he has also worked through his drop issues that stuck out during OTAs and the early part of training camp.
"Honestly, being a receiver, you just have days like that where you just can't catch a cold," Brown said. "You've just got to work through it, keep being positive and keep pressing towards it. I fee like that's what I did during camp. I just kept getting better and better every day."