Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was explosive enough in Sunday’s season opener to do something no one in NFL history had: score multiple 40-yard touchdowns in his first career game.
And yet ...
“That was, like, nowhere near my top speed,” Brown said Thursday.
That’s the scary thing about the Ravens’ top draft pick: There’s still another gear he hasn’t reached. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey said in training camp that a Ravens trainer told him that Brown had hit 21 mph during a rehabilitation run; only seven ball carriers in Week 1 crossed that threshold.
So even as the Ravens take it slow with Brown’s surgically repaired left foot, they can still count on him to go pretty fast. He said he played through some pain Sunday, but that “it’s improving, and each week, it’s going to get better.”
Brown set a high bar Sunday. His receiving total was the third highest for a rookie in Ravens history. Only Torrey Smith (Maryland) had more productive games his first year, finishing with 152 yards in September 2011 and then 165 in mid-November.
“That’s fairly unprecedented,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “But it was really good execution by everybody on the play. And, jeez, the results kind of speak for themselves on those plays. So [I’m] not really that surprised that he makes those kind of plays because we see it in practice. Just happy for everybody that he did.”
Brown’s already garnered the respect of Ravens teammates. In preseason, as he worked his way back from Lisfranc (foot) surgery, inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor jokingly told him that he was “Holly” until he’d earned his full nickname. He’s back to “Hollywood” now, Brown said.
Opposing defensive coordinators know who he is now, too. Safety Earl Thomas III said Wednesday that Brown has a “different speed,” such that “you definitely have to know where he is at all times.” Anytime he goes deep, Thomas said, he makes another teammate’s job easier.
“He’s a guy that can really blow the top off of defenses,” tight end Mark Andrews said Wednesday. "They have to respect it because of his speed. He’s such a fast player, so it helps the guys that are inside with crossing routes and over the middle and opens up some lanes for the quarterback to throw. So I’m excited to see how that turns out as the year goes along and how defenses will have to respect that and what we do with it.”