Monday, July 4, 2022

Rashod Bateman embracing new job as Ravens No. 1 WR: ‘That’s the role that I’ve always wanted to be in’

If there are any questions regarding the Baltimore Ravens at wide receiver, Rashod Bateman is here to answer them. Bateman became the No. 1 wideout in Baltimore after the team’s surprising trade of Marquise Brown on draft night — after Bateman played just 12 games with the organization. 

The Ravens saw enough out of Bateman in that small sample size to have him lead the wide receiver room — a role he’s embracing. 

“That’s the role that I’ve always wanted to be in,” Bateman said last week. “I’m excited to take that role.”

Since Bateman debuted in Week 6 of last season, he was tied for fifth among rookies in receptions (46), sixth in receiving yards (515) and fourth in receiving first downs (29). He averaged just 11.2 yards per catch last season, but kept things nonchalant when asked if he can be a deep-ball wide receiver. 

“We’ll see,” Bateman said with a smile.

Bateman and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson played just seven games together as Jackson missed the final five games of last season with an ankle injury. While the chemistry on the field has a small sample size, Bateman and Jackson are getting their reps in this offseason as the Ravens quarterback will be relying on him to produce.

“We just had chemistry off [the] bat,” Jackson said. “It was like I never stopped playing, really, and I just felt like when I got to camp, it was going to be the same way, and it has.”

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Bateman has the confidence of the Ravens coaching staff, as wide receivers coach Tee Martin called him a leader in the wide receiver room. This is the job Bateman wants, and he’s prepared to face the criticism he and his wide receiver teammates are going to take all year. 

With no Marquise Brown, the spotlight is on Bateman and the Ravens wideouts. He’s okay with that.

“I just want to know why us? There’s like rookie receivers everywhere going crazy, and everybody is talking about us,” Bateman said. “But, we embrace it. It’s a challenge, but we’re learning from Lamar [Jackson]. We don’t really care anymore.

“I talk a lot, but hopefully I can show them by the way I work by being the first one here every single day, by working hard at practice, running routes, studying film, whatever it may look like. That’s the role that I’m in. That’s the role that I’ve always wanted to be in, and I’m excited to take that role.”

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