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How Will Antonio Brown Fit into the Ravens’ Offensive Scheme?


Antonio Brown, the former Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders wide receiver, has had a tumultuous NFL career filled with controversies, legal issues, and personality clashes with coaches and teammates. But there is no doubt about his on-field talents, which include seven Pro Bowl selections, four First-Team All-Pro honors, and over 11,000 receiving yards in just nine seasons.

Now, after a year of suspension and personal struggles, Brown is looking to revive his career as he joins the Baltimore Ravens on a one-year, $3 million deal. The Ravens, who have undergone major changes in their offense this offseason, could benefit greatly from Brown’s experience, versatility, and playmaking ability. But how exactly will Brown fit into their offensive scheme? Let’s explore some possibilities.

Antonio Brown’s Strengths

Before we analyze how Brown could fit into the Ravens’ offense, it’s important to understand what he brings to the table as a receiver. Here are some of his notable strengths:

1. Route running – Brown has been praised by many analysts and coaches for his precise and nuanced route running, which allows him to create separation from defenders and find openings in coverage.

2. Hands – Brown has a reputation for having some of the best hands in the league, rarely dropping catchable passes and making difficult grabs look routine.

3. Agility – Brown’s quick feet and change of direction skills make him a nightmare for defenders trying to stay with him on short and intermediate routes.

4. YAC ability – Brown is also adept at gaining yards after the catch, using his elusiveness and acceleration to turn short catches into big gains.

5. Versatility – Brown has played as both an outside and slot receiver throughout his career, and has occasionally lined up as a running back or returner, showing his ability to contribute in multiple roles.

Now that we have a sense of Brown’s skills, let’s examine how he could be utilized in the Ravens’ offense.

Possible Roles for Antonio Brown in the Ravens’ Offense

1. Flanker or Slot Receiver

The Ravens’ current top receivers are Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, and Rashod Bateman, all of whom are considered more as speed and route-running threats rather than physical or possession receivers. Brown, on the other hand, has a more diverse skill set that could complement the other receivers’ strengths and give quarterback Lamar Jackson more options in the passing game.

One scenario could be to use Brown as a flanker, lining up opposite Marquise Brown (who typically plays as the “Z” or flanker receiver) or in the slot, where he could take advantage of his agility and route-running expertise against linebackers or nickel corners. This would give the Ravens a dangerous trio of quick and shifty receivers who could create mismatches and open up the middle of the field for tight ends Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle.

2. Red Zone Threat

The Ravens’ offense has struggled in the red zone at times, mainly due to a lack of size and physicality among their receiving corps. Brown, however, has shown flashes of being a red zone weapon throughout his career, using his strong hands, body control, and ability to high point the ball to score touchdowns in tight spaces.

If the Ravens can utilize Brown as a jump-ball target near the goal line, it could take pressure off Andrews, who has been their primary red zone threat but has also faced double-teams and bracket coverage. Brown’s presence could also force defenses to adjust their coverage schemes, potentially opening up opportunities for other receivers or the running game.

3. Deep Threat

While Brown is not typically known for his speed or deep-ball prowess, he has shown the ability to stretch the field and catch long passes when called upon. In fact, he led the NFL in receiving yards and touchdowns in 2014, largely due to his ability to get behind defenses and make big plays downfield.

The Ravens have not had a consistent deep threat since the departure of Torrey Smith, and while Marquise Brown has the speed and explosiveness to fill that role, he has been limited by injuries and inconsistent quarterback play. If Antonio Brown can regain some of his old form and provide a reliable deep threat, it could open up new dimensions in the Ravens’ offense and force defenses to respect the vertical passing game.

4. Screen and Sweep Runner

One aspect of the Ravens’ offense that has been successful in recent years is their use of run-pass options (RPOs) and quick screens to their receivers, particularly Marquise Brown. These plays allow Jackson to get the ball out quickly to his playmakers and let them use their speed and agility to gain yards in space.

Antonio Brown, despite not being known as a burner, could still be effective in these types of plays due to his YAC ability and shiftiness. The Ravens could use him on bubble screens, jet sweeps, and other designed runs that take advantage of his versatility and experience in making defenders miss in the open field.


Antonio Brown’s addition to the Ravens’ offense comes with some risks, given his history of off-field issues and tendency to clash with coaches and teammates. However, if he can stay focused and committed to his role, he could prove to be a valuable asset to the Ravens’ passing attack, which has struggled at times to find consistency and explosiveness.

Whether as a flanker, red zone threat, deep threat, or screen runner, Brown brings a different element to the Ravens’ receiving corps that could complement the other talents on the roster and make the offense more dynamic. Of course, much will depend on his ability to rebuild his on-field chemistry with Jackson and adapt to the Ravens’ system, but if he can do so, he has the potential to be a difference-maker in their quest for a Super Bowl.
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