Rashod Bateman sat out the second half of Week 4’s game against the Buffalo Bills. The second-year wideout picked up a foot injury during the game. His status is “day-to-day” according to John Harbaugh, but Bateman is expected to miss the Week 5 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The injury to Bateman is bad news for the Baltimore Ravens but should not be debilitating. So far, Bateman has caught 11 passes on 22 targets. His 11 catches have resulted in 243 yards and two touchdowns, giving him an impressive 22.1 yards per reception. He also logged one fumble against the New England Patriots, though thankfully for the Ravens, it did not cost them the game.
While Bateman’s production has been nothing to write home about, his role for the Ravens is important, nevertheless. It should be noted that Baltimore gives famously few opportunities to wide receivers. They often line up in heavy formations, with multiple tight ends and just one wide receiver. For the season, Bateman had managed an offensive snap count of over 60% (per game) prior to the Bills game. Prior to his injury, Bateman was considered the team’s primary wide receiver. He would be the lone wideout on many formations.
Devin Duvernay is key to ensuring the Ravens passing attack stays afloat. He will need help from his fellow wideouts and Mark Andrews and the tight ends though.
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Devin Duvernay Ready to Replace Rashod Bateman
No Bateman will likely mean that Baltimore will turn to the next man up: Devin Duvernay. The third-year receiver has quietly put together a good campaign as the complementary wide receiver to Bateman.
So far, Duvernay has caught 12 of 13 targets and managed 172 yards (14.3 yards per reception). He has also snagged three touchdowns, a career-high in a season. The 25-year-old has been lethal as a returner too. He managed a 103-yard return touchdown to open the Week 2 fixture against the Miami Dolphins.
So far, Duvernay has not seen as many offensive snaps as Bateman, aside from in the Week 4 game against Buffalo. When Bateman was absent for half the game, Duvernay’s offensive snap percentage leapt up to 64%, when it had previously been closer to 50%.
Will Duvernay be able to replicate Bateman’s role? In theory, yes. Both players have played at a similar level this season and Duvernay certainly has the potential to even offer more as a deep threat. The coaches will need to be careful to not overwork Duvernay though if they want him to continue seeing reps as the primary return man.
Baltimore’s inability to consistently find Andrews will need to be remedied against the Bengals. In some games, Andrews has been ‘unleashed’ and, in others, he has been contained. With Bateman out, there is no doubt that more defensive attention will be paid to Duvernay and so they will need Andrews to open more things up for the offense.
Duvernay is key in Bateman’s absence, as he is the player expected to slide into Bateman’s role. But they also need Andrews to find more consistency in order to help Duvernay out.
After getting hurt Sunday, Rashod Bateman (foot) wasn’t at Ravens practice today.
That meant Devin Duvernay was WR1. pic.twitter.com/4uHULOIO4A
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) October 5, 2022
Ravens Receiver Depth Running Thin
Many criticized Eric DeCosta in the off-season for not getting more receiver depth. Their criticism is not exactly unfounded as the Ravens have the third-lowest wide receiver spending in the league. They are spending under $7 million at the position, just 3.38% of their total cap. In an age where teams are paying wide receivers $20 million per year, $7 million for five guys seems stingy. Granted, the Ravens are paying their tight ends a lot of money. However, it seems like more could have been done to bolster their receiving corps.
Baltimore has relied on the tandem of Bateman and Duvernay for their wide receiver production. With Bateman absent for (at least) this week, Duvernay is key. But the Ravens need more from their backups too. Robinson has shown some good flashes in his limited involvement so far and seems the most likely candidate to see a jump in his playing time. But equally, this seems a good opportunity for Tylan Wallace to establish himself after a quiet rookie year. James Proche appears to have fallen out of favour of late, having been a healthy scratch a couple of times this season.
On Wednesday, the team signed former second-round pick Andy Isabella. Isabella was a huge disappointment with the Arizona Cardinals but provides average depth at the position.
The other solution could be to lean on their tight ends a little more. Nick Boyle is being paid a lot for a TE2 and should be able to step up. And Josh Oliver has also showed some good play. The team were particularly impressed with rookie Isaiah Likely, and he figures to be someone who could find a role as a wide receiver-tight end hybrid.