Three players Joe Flacco will have to lean on in Week 5

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and wide receiver Kamar Aiken celebrate while leaving the field after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

By Karl Nelson II

It’s scary thinking about the fact that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will have the following targets in Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns; Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and Darren Waller. This is not the lineup Flacco or the Ravens expected at all to be left with in just their fifth game of the regular season, and a divisional game at that.

Baltimore’s season has been more than a roller coaster ride thus far; it’s been a nightmare as they’ve lost key guys to injury early on, gotten off to the worst start of their franchise history, and despite their win in Pittsburgh, have lacked consistency on both ends of the football.

So, losing veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. for at least Sunday’s game, still being without rookie receiver Breshad Perriman, and now losing Michael Campanaro to a season-ending back injury, just goes to show that the football gods are definitely not playing in Baltimore’s favor right now.

Flacco’s not off to the best start this season either, recording a little over 1,000 yards passing with five touchdowns and five interceptions to go along with it. He definitely hasn’t been himself and it doesn’t help that he’s going to have practically no one to throw to come Sunday.

That sounds harsh and maybe it is, but I’d be lying and any Ravens fan that believes the receiving corps will be as Flacco put it “alright” is lying as well if they believe that Baltimore’s current lineup at wide receiver can get the job done Sunday.

Kamar Aiken

Kamar Aiken was once viewed as a journeyman in the NFL, but he’s been able to find a home as a member of the Ravens. As a matter of fact, when he was named the No. 2 starting receiver this year, things really appeared to be looking up for the receiver out of Central Florida.

That anticipation was only short lived though as he’s now simply trying to put up starter-like numbers, but still stuck in his role from a year prior when he was seeing limited snaps.

Aiken has recorded just 11 receptions for 165 yards and only one touchdown per ESPN.com.

Marlon Brown

If Aiken has had a slow start, then what would you call Marlon Browns start to the season?

Because he’s surely gotten off to a mediocre start and this is a season where the coaches really expect him to make an impact, something he hasn’t done yet. Brown only made two catches for nine yards and no touchdowns against Pittsburgh last Thursday, according to ESPN.com.

He’s been pretty nonexistent in the other games as well, brining in just eight receptions for 75 yards without a score. With Steve Smith out on Sunday, it’s looking like he’s going to be the next guy in line and given his numbers thus far, I just don’t know how prepared he can be.

Darren Waller

According to Ravens staff writer Ryan Mink, it’s looking like the sixth-round rookie receiver Darren Waller is going to be Flacco’s third option come Sunday. On paper, he doesn’t appear to carry much weight.

Waller does bring his six-foot-six frame to the table, but the issue lies in his inexperience as an NFL receiver, not his skill. He literally has only one reception on the season and now he’s going to be forced to step into a significant role.

The bottom line is Baltimore’s receiver department was in trouble when the season started and they were only down one man, Breshad Perriman, but this is night and day to even what they thought was going to happen.

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