One of the oldest adages in football is also one of the game's most simple: Next man up!
Simply put, when one man goes down, it's time for the next man on the depth chart to step up. And for the Baltimore Ravens, Marlon Brown is the next man up.
With Jacoby Jones falling to injury against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night, the rookie wide receiver will be cast into a bigger role for the Baltimore Ravens offense, and depending on the severity of the injury will be cast in that role for some time.
Here's how Jones got hurt:
At the moment, the extent of Jones' injury remains unknown. From Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun:
Jones indicated he'll undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam Friday.
"I don't know," Jones said when asked how long he thinks he'll be sidelined. "I got to find out."
On a punt return, Ravens rookie safety Brynden Trawick with his head down in his first NFL game, barreled into Jones as he signaled for a fair catch. Both players were shaken up on the play and left the field slowly.
"I didn't see it," Jones said. "I had my eyes on the ball."
"I just didn't see him," Trawick said. "It was bad on my part. There's not much I can say, for real."
Brown was quite good for the Ravens in the preseason—and he stepped up last night as well, catching four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown—so he should quickly develop into Joe Flacco's No. 2 target in the passing game behind Torrey Smith.
If he steps up and seizes the opportunity, that is.
Oh, and fantasy owners, he may be worth keeping an eye on, especially in deeper leagues. From Matthew Berry of ESPN:
It should be noted that, from a fantasy perspective, Brown is probably at best a flex play for owners, and a flex play in deeper leagues. Before folks go inserting him into lineups on a regular basis, we should all see how the kid responds to a bigger role in the Ravens offense.
And obviously, we still need to see the extent of Jones' injury.
But even without the knock to Jones, this was a Ravens offense on Thursday night that was missing injured Dennis Pitta and the departed Anquan Boldin in a big way.
Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson dropped passes and didn't threaten the Broncos linebackers or secondary. Ray Rice—surprise, surprise—wasn't utilized as fully as he could have been, with just 20 touches (12 rushes for 36 yards and a touchdown, eight receptions for 35 yards). Despite finishing with four receptions for 92 yards, Torrey Smith disappeared for long stretches of the game.
The point is that there seems to be a void in the Baltimore passing game, and someone in Baltimore is going to have to step up to fill it. Why not Brown?
After all, he is the next man up.