Ravens WR Miles Boykin is one of the unsung heroes of the offense
Over the summer and leading up to the 2020 season, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Miles Boykin was generating a lot of hype as the second option opposite his fellow second-year wideout Marquise Hollywood Brown and both were circled as prime breakout candidates.
While Boykin is well on his way to surpassing his measly 13 catch and 198 receiving yard rookie campaign with 10 receptions for 111 yards through the first five games of this season, it still not the kind of production that he or anyone was hoping he’d be putting up.
The offense as a whole isn’t hitting on all cylinders and several players on that side of the ball are seeing some slow starts to the year. Negative regression isn’t all that surprising considering all the records they broke as a unit in 2019 and all the impressive individual seasons that were produced.
Through the first five-game of the season, the Ravens’ passing attack has been funneled mostly through Brown and Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews. Together they make up for 40 of quarterback Lamar Jackson’s 86 completions and 541 of his 949 passing yards.
Brown leads the team with 22 catches and 319 yards and Andrews has 18 catches for 222 yards and team-leading five touchdowns.
According to his coaches, Boykin’s production isn’t reflective of his impact and current high level of play. Even though the ball hasn’t been thrown his direction nearly as often as it has Brown or Andrews, it is because of a lack of chemistry and not a knock on his talent or ability. He may play a glamorous position, but he does a lot of the dirty work to help his teammates succeed.
“I think Miles is doing a good job in a lot of phases,” Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said. “I think he’s been really unheralded as a blocker. I feel like he’s coming into his own as a dominant blocker, doing a lot of the dirty work that nobody really notices.”
One of the knocks on Roman and the Ravens in recent weeks as their offense has struggled with consistency is that some believe that they are trying too hard to get all of their weapons involved in the offense.
However, Roman believes that there are more ways they can get Boykin more looks in the passing game and that as long as he keeps doing what he’s been doing, the production will soon follow suit.
“There’s definitely room for him to be more involved,” said Roman. “We’re certainly encouraged by how he’s practicing every day. As a receiver, you can’t control what’s thrown to you, but you can control getting open, running the right route. He’s working hard at that and we have high expectations for him.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh has observed and praises the same aspects of Boykin’s performance thus far this season and echoed similar sentiments to Roman when he spoke to reporters on Monday.
“He’s playing well. Even though the catches aren’t there – I know that’s how receivers are kind of measured – but he’s in the right spots, he’s running the right routes, and he’s blocking really well,” Harbaugh said. “Those are all things that are kind of unseen, unsung type things that get noticed by coaches and other players [more] than they do when you’re watching it.”
Boykin isn’t the only Raven that has started the season off slow from a statistical standpoint but as this year’s team is still improving and trying to find their identity on both sides of the ball, there will be an uptick in everyone’s numbers across the board.
While some fans are clamoring for rookie receiver Devin Duvernay to see a more rapid increase in his snap count on offense at the expense of Boykin, his role in what the Ravens do on the ground and the production he could have if Jackson threw his way more are too great to keep on the sideline.