There’s some tension brewing in Charm City.
Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta spoke candidly when asked about the team’s apparent issues over the years when it comes to drafting and developing solid wide receivers.
“We’ve never really hit on that All-Pro type of guy, which is disappointing, but it’s not for a lack of effort,” he said Wednesday at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. “It’s one of those anomalies that I really can’t explain, other than to say that we’re not going to stop trying. … [Hopefully] at one of these points, we’re gonna hit the ball out of the park.”
Understandably, DeCosta’s comments didn’t sit well with some of the Ravens’ current receivers.
Rashod Bateman, a first-round pick by Baltimore in 2021, promptly responded on social media in a since-deleted Tweet, saying that DeCosta should “stop pointing the finger” at the receiving corps and No. 8, alluding to quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is currently in the midst of a contract standoff with the Ravens ahead of the start of free agency.
Bateman added that if DeCosta cared about the receivers and keeping them healthy, things would be different.
Meanwhile, former teammate Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who was traded by Baltimore to the Arizona Cardinals last season for a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, voiced his support for Bateman online.
“Let him cook,” Brown wrote in response to Bateman’s comments.
Bateman has arguably situated himself as one of the Ravens’ top pass-catchers, but his first two NFL seasons have been riddled with injuries that have severely limited the 23-year-old from reaching his full potential.
He missed five regular-season games due to groin surgery as a rookie but still managed to finish third on the Ravens’ receiving leaders list (515 yards) behind tight end Mark Andrews (1,361) and veteran wideout Brown (1,008).
Bateman had another setback his sophomore season, playing in just six regular-season games in 2022 before undergoing season-ending foot surgery. He finished fifth on the Ravens’ leaderboard with a mere 285 yards behind Andrews (847 yards), receivers Demarcus Robinson (458) and Devin Duvernay (407), and back-up tight end Isaiah Likely (373).
Bateman, the 27th overall pick in 2021, has yet to appear in a postseason game for Baltimore.
The 10-7 Ravens finished second in the AFC North last season behind the Cincinnati Bengals (12-4). However, Baltimore ranked at or near the bottom in just about every receiving metric possible.
The Ravens finished the 2022-23 campaign second to last in the NFL in big-play receptions (catches of 20-plus yards) with just 33, as well as finishing 30th in yards after catch per game (80.2) and 28th in total receptions (300). Baltimore ranked 22nd in the league in yards per reception (10.7) and didn’t have a single wide receiver eclipse 500 yards.
The Ravens are aiming to change that next season with the offseason hire of Todd Monken as the team’s new offensive coordinator. He replaced Greg Roman, who recently parted ways with the Ravens after four seasons.
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