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The Bat Signal is Up

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Rashod Bateman

But No One is Answering

The talent is there. On occasion we’ve been treated to glimpses of what could be. Yet time and again, when the name of Rashod Bateman is mentioned, it triggers emotions, most of which aren’t flattering. That’s what happens when reality falls far short of expectations.

For those not in Bateman’s corner, the label of “bust” is bantered about. It stems from years of frustration – years of drafting first-day and second-day receivers that never quite perform at a level that their ability or draft status suggests. Fans have grown weary of the Ravens wide receiver boulevard of broken dreams and consequently, they’ll add Bateman to the list and summarily dismiss the team’s ability to find competent talent at the position.

Unfortunately, the Ravens have earned the reputation, and much like Lamar Jackson and his reputation for not being a playoff winning quarterback, it’s up to Bateman to prove the naysayers wrong. It’s up to Bateman to change the narrative. But the hopeful change is off to a lousy start.

Bateman wasn’t a regular at OTA’s this past spring. Yes, the practice time he missed was voluntary, but when a player is trying to change the narrative, trying to produce like a first-round talent, trying to avoid that dreaded label, you’d think there would be a greater commitment on the practice field, a greater sense of urgency, voluntary or not.

There has been speculation that Bateman’s injuries have been more severe than the team has let on; speculation about personal issues that have been distractions. And then there’s the topic of Bateman’s rapport with Lamar.

Chemistry between a quarterback and a receiver isn’t a rite of passage. It takes time. It takes work. It takes commitment. And when both the passer and the pass catcher are fully invested in elevating their rapport, the fruits of labor come to the surface and with it, success.

Remember the TD toss from Patrick Mahomes to Travis Kelce in the AFC Championship Game here in Baltimore? Of course you do. It was poetry in motion, the culmination of hours upon hours devoted to refining a craft. In the end, it helps Mahomes-to-Kelce achieve success even when a play is well-defended.

There’s a reason why Lamar has a connection with Mark Andrews. There’s a reason why Lamar and Zay Flowers can produce explosive plays when seemingly a play has broken down. There’s a reason why Lamar and Bateman don’t. The sweat equity isn’t there.

Lamar has made it clear that he’d welcome a Bateman visit to Florida where Flowers and Nelson Agholor have put in the reps. And those visits are about more than just the reps. They’re about developing camaraderie. They’re about understanding. They’re about seeing the game through each other’s eyes. Add it all up and the result is an uncommon outcome.

Just ask Mahomes and Kelce.

Now I’m not naïve enough to suggest that Lamar and Bateman can become Mahomes-Kelce. But is it fair to expect that Jackson-Bateman can be on par with Jackson-Flowers?

Even that seems like a pipedream at this point unless there’s more of a commitment to excellence. And at this point a commitment to above average would be a step in the right direction.

The clock is ticking.

But I have to wonder if Bateman hears it.

[Related Article: Will The Dark Knight Rise in Baltimore?]

The post The Bat Signal is Up appeared first on Russell Street Report.


Source: https://russellstreetreport.com/2024/07/03/lombardis-way/bateman-lamar/


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