During the Ravens’ 19-17 victory against the Detroit Lions Sept. 26, Baltimore wide receiver Marquise Brown had three crucial drops, but late heroics by kicker Justin Tucker overshadowed Brown’s play. Former Ravens head coach Brian Billick is confident that Brown’s drops won’t carry over to the rest of the season.
Billick was the head coach of the Ravens for nine seasons (1999-2007). During his tenure in Baltimore, Billick posted an all-time record of 85-67, including the postseason, and won Super Bowl XXXV. Before he was the head coach in Baltimore, Billick was a tight ends coach (1992-1993) and offensive coordinator (1993-1998) for the Minnesota Vikings.
Billick, 67, was an analyst for NFL Network in recent years and now breaks down film for the Ravens after every game for the team’s website.
Brown had three drops against the Lions. The first drop came with a little less than 11 minutes left in the second quarter. On second-and-10 from the Lions’ 25-yard line, quarterback Lamar Jackson threw the ball to Brown in the end zone. Brown had separation but the ball went through his hands, though it may have been tipped by a defender. The Ravens were forced to settle for a field goal.
The other two drops came during the final drive of the second quarter for the Ravens. The first opportunity would have given the Ravens great field position in Lions territory. However, the Ravens still moved the ball and found themselves in Detroit territory.
With the Ravens facing third-and-7 from the Lions’ 44-yard line, Brown gained separation down the field. Jackson rolled out and targeted Brown for what would have likely been a touchdown. Brown got his hands on the ball but ultimately dropped it.
Billick assured Ravens fans that there is nothing to fear long term with Brown, who has caught 15 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns this year.
“We know he has the ability to catch the ball,” Billick said on Glenn Clark Radio Sept. 29. “Ford Field is kind of a unique environment in terms of the shadows for anybody’s that’s been there and seen a game there. I’m not close to it. I don’t know if Marquise had something else going on, something physically or mentally that was giving him a distraction. I think it will be a while before he drops three passes again.”
Billick believes the young receiver just needs to move on from the rough day and work on his craft in practice.
“You go back in during the week and the course of practice doing the fundamental things to get him back into a rhythm,” Billick said, “Just like say a batter in a batting slump or a golfer that’s shanking or hooking the ball, getting back into that rhythm where he has confidence in what he’s doing.”
Throughout the game, the Lions were able to slow down the Ravens’ running game a bit, which resulted in the Ravens going to the air more. Jackson completed 16 of 31 passes for 287 yards. Billick has been impressed with Jackson’s progression this year and believes that even though he won’t be “the prototypical pocket passer,” Jackson is still “truly unique and dynamic player in the NFL.”
“What he is is more than adequate, and more than that, it’s outstanding,” Billick said.
Billick believes the Ravens are still a team to beat in the NFL. When the offense is producing and the defense is playing well, the Ravens have a “trifecta” that not many teams can match, according to Billick.
“Justin Tucker is the third element of that trifecta that still makes the Ravens one of the best teams in the NFL,” Billick said.
Billick praised Tucker for being the weapon that every NFL team wants. Tucker converted 4 of 5 field goals in Detroit, including the record-breaking 66-yard field goal to win the game. That adds another layer to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh’s decision-making process about when to leave the offense on the field on fourth down.
“He knows when it’s across the 50, it’s guaranteed points,” Billick said.
The Ravens stand at 2-1 this season and will be facing the undefeated Denver Broncos at Mile High Oct.3.
For more from Billick, listen to the full interview here:
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