Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey Sends Strong Message on Sammy Watkins’ Return

Ravens Sammy Watkins

Getty Baltimore Ravens wide receivers Hollywood Brown and Sammy Watkins look on during training camp in July.

The Baltimore Ravens offense may have the second-most yards per game in the NFL this season, but according to All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey, they’ve yet to hit their top gear.

But with veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins set to return after missing the Ravens’ last three games, Humphrey told media on November 9 that “the show is ready to begin.”

Watkins is listed as questionable on the Ravens’ official injury report, but after ramping up to full participation in today’s walkthrough, he’s expected to play against the Miami Dolphins tomorrow night.

Tight end Nick Boyle has been a limited participant in practice all week, earning an injury designation of “questionable” along with defensive tackle Brandon Williams, who missed Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. He did not participate in today’s walkthrough, putting his status for tomorrow’s game in doubt.

Right tackle Patrick Mekari and running back Latavius Murray are considered “doubtful” after not practicing this week. With both still recovering from ankle sprains, the Ravens will likely hold them out, though the 10-day period before Baltimore’s next game could give them enough time to get healthy.

Jackson to Have Top Targets for First Time

If Watkins is indeed good to go, star quarterback Lamar Jackson will have all of his top weapons on the field at the same time for the first time this season.

Rookie wideout Rashod Bateman missed the Ravens’ first five games due to a preseason groin injury, but has lived up to his first-round billing by picking up first downs on his first 11 catches in the NFL. He’ll join fellow receivers Watkins and Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, as well as tight end Mark Andrews, to form the most dangerous group of targets Jackson has thrown to in his career.

“I remember being in love with our receivers,” said Humphrey yesterday when he first faced off against Bateman and Watkins over the summer.

The Ravens worked hard to improve Jackson’s targets this offseason, signing Watkins in free agency and drafting Bateman with the 27th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Their investment seems to have paid off, with both receivers averaging over 50 yards per game and Jackson pushing the ball downfield like never before.

Excitement in Baltimore hit a fever pitch as reports about Jackson’s chemistry with his new-look receiving corps trickled out of preseason practices.

“We were having long days in training camp,” said Humphrey with a chuckle, who got a taste of Bateman’s potential firsthand during a practice at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Despite rumors of additions, including Odell Beckham Jr. and Allen Robinson, the Ravens seem more than content with their current stable of wide receivers.

Injuries Stunt Progress on Offense

The Ravens’ momentum towards a potentially paradigm-shifting offense was stunted when Bateman suffered a groin injury before the regular season, forcing him onto the injured reserve list and delaying his NFL debut for more than a month. His injury also gave Ravens fans flashbacks to the troubled rookie season of 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman, who re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week.

Watkins still delivered, catching four balls in each of his first four games as a Raven and emerging as a reliable target for Jackson to move the chains. But a hamstring injury against the Indianapolis Colts sidelined Watkins just as Bateman became ready to play.

The rookie played well in Watkins’ role in the Ravens’ offense, but having both on the field together, along with Brown and Andrews, will force opposing defenses into some difficult decisions.