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Can DeMarcus Robinson Be Baltimore’s Primary Receiver?

Ravens Using Robinson as Primary Wideout: The 28-year-old caught all nine of his targets for 128 yards in the 13-3 win over the Panthers.
Demarcus Robinson

The Baltimore Ravens saw efficient production from Demarcus Robinson in the 13-3 win against the Carolina Panthers. The 28-year-old caught all nine of his targets for 128 yards and helped his team in critical third-down situations.

Prior to his stellar performance against the Panthers, Robinson had been witnessing a quiet season. The former Kansas City Chiefs receiver only caught for over 50 yards in one contest and was largely a non-factor in the others. He was mostly used as the WR3, behind Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay. He even ceded snaps to new veteran signing, DeSean Jackson. However, the Ravens were using Robinson as the primary wideout against the Panthers, and it paid dividends.

Part of the uptick in production was due to Rashod Bateman’s season-ending surgery. The sophomore receiver was expected to be the team’s top receiver, but injuries have derailed his season again. In his absence, Devin Duvernay was expected to be the primary wide receiver, but he failed to produce effectively.

The Ravens have had deficiencies at the wide receiver position for a few years now. The team has never given Lamar Jackson a safety outlet on the perimeter but has made it work with Mark Andrews. Baltimore would benefit greatly from a bona fide playmaker out wide, and Robinson could fill that role for the rest of the season.

Baltimore Ravens Using Demarcus Robinson As Primary Receiver

With Bateman out for the season and Robinson having performed well in the last game, it makes sense for the Ravens to use Robinson as the primary wideout again, this week. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a sneakily good outfit, but Robinson could find some success.

If Robinson retains his role as the top receiver for the rest of the season, it will make Duvernay play his most natural role. Duvernay had a blistering start to the season as the gadget player and WR2 behind Bateman. However, he struggled when forced into the WR1 role. Duvernay’s biggest plays come from the slot and, with Robinson holding down the fort out wide, the Ravens can continue to dial up creative plays with Duvernay.

Managing Robinson’s Expectations

One limiting factor on Demarcus Robinson’s production could be Jackson’s return. With the Philadelphia Eagles, Jackson was one of the league’s premier deep threats. However, with the Ravens, he has been utilized on shorter routes. It is believed that the coaches like what they are seeing from Jackson. He started against the New Orleans Saints and caught one pass for 16 yards before sustaining an injury. On the assumption he returns, he would be a top candidate to take away some of Robinson’s snaps given the buzz he has received from the Ravens camp.

Part of the reason Jackson’s role with Baltimore is different from his role with other teams before is the Ravens’ run-heavy scheme. Indeed, this is the main factor that will limit Robinson’s production. With Gus Edwards expected back soon, and J.K. Dobbins following him, the team is expected to revert to a ground-and-pound philosophy. Against Carolina, they struggled to establish the run due to the Panthers’ fierce defensive front. With their top backs returning as well as more favorable matchups, it is unlikely that Jackson will throw the ball as frequently. Even as Baltimore’s WR1, the expected production is low due to the scheme.

Another potential cap on Robinson’s opportunities is if the Ravens make some free agent signings at the position. This is likely, given how thin they are at the position. If Eric DeCosta finds some impact signings, the team could deploy more of a receiving committee. This would stop the Ravens from using Robinson as the primary wideout but, rather, as a rotational starter.


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