According to multiple reports, the Baltimore Ravens have activated rookie first-round pick Rashod Bateman from injured reserve in time for Wednesday's practice, giving the wide receiver a 21-day window to be added to their 53-man roster. It would be a minor surprise to see Bateman suit up for his first NFL game against the Denver Broncos in Week 4, but the former Minnesota standout should be ready to take the field for Baltimore’s Monday night showdown with the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5.
Bateman’s return should provide yet another boost for a Ravens passing game that has flashed an impressive amount of growth through the first three weeks of the new campaign. The Ravens are currently averaging 239 passing yards per game, marking a significant improvement on last year’s league-worst attack that managed just 171 yards through the air per contest.
Adding an exciting talent like Bateman to their already improved pass-catching corps could see this passing game take yet another step in the right direction. There are several reasons why Baltimore has had success in the passing game at a more efficient rate in 2021 than they did in 2020.
Starting quarterback Lamar Jackson has made progress as a passer. Jackson, who has often looked more comfortable utilizing his legs than his arm throughout his illustrious career, is currently showing more confidence in the pocket than ever before. The noteworthy improvements made by Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, who is easily on pace for the best season of his career despite Week 3’s drop issues, has certainly helped this passing offense reach new heights. Jackson has begun the new season in impressive form, throwing for at least 230 yards and a touchdown in three straight games. Jackson failed to put together such a three-game streak last season.
Bateman's return will give Jackson another formidable option in the passing game. Bateman's penchant for winning on in-breaking routes should mesh well with Jackson's preference to attempt throws to those areas of the field. At Minnesota, Bateman was the beneficiary of an offense that successfully employed run/pass option concepts, and it should be a similar story in Baltimore. Bateman has a proven track record of being able to win both in the slot and on the outside, giving the Ravens the versatility to move him around the formation while identifying and taking advantage of mismatch opportunities. Bateman is a true technician and should quickly find his footing at the NFL level due to his easy acceleration skills and diverse release package.
Bateman's return adds another exciting wrinkle to what's already a much-improved passing offense.