In the first half of Sunday’s 24-17 victory, Baltimore Ravens fourth-round rookie Isaiah Likely repeatedly tore through the Arizona Cardinals defense, giving the Ravens their 22nd straight preseason victory.
In the first half, the rookie tight end hauled in eight passes for a total of 100 yards and a touchdown, including a 31-yard catch and run.
Through two preseason games, Likely has demonstrated a talent for spotting weakness spots in defenses and sticky hands, catching all 12 of his targets. Likely is in position for a significant role when the season starts thanks to the rookie’s continuing ascent from summer oddity to training camp dazzler to preseason marvel.
According to head coach John Harbaugh, “we expected him to be a pretty excellent player,” on Sunday, via the team’s official website . “He is, to be very honest with you, precisely what we anticipated. He has had some opportunities and has taken full use of them. He doesn’t get flustered, he goes to work every day, and he asks smart questions. When he makes a mistake, he fixes it.”
Likely is working his way into two tight end reps alongside Mark Andrews because of receiver questions. Throughout the offseason, it was clear that the rookie had a remarkable ability to maintain himself available against zones and when the action faltered. On Sunday, he additionally shown his ability to capitalize after the catch by cleverly converting a little gain into a huge one.
Everyone wants to be able to catch the ball, but what matters is what you can do with it after you do, according to Likely. “I’ve always advocated for that, whether it be in-game or even in practice. Having that in-game experience makes it feel familiar to me when I enter the game.”
Through two exhibition games, Likely’s sole blemish was two holding penalties in the first game. He didn’t experience those difficulties on Sunday because Tyler Huntley led the Ravens’ pass-heavy attack in the first half.
The youngster will most likely be able to line up in several locations, which might help him overtake Nick Boyle for the position of TE2. He made nine snaps from the slot and five from the tight on Sunday. Two of the six catches, including the touchdown, were made from tight positions in the slot.
Since mandatory minicamp, Likely has become a favorite of Lamar Jackson and keeps getting better.
It’s just demonstrating to the Ravens that I would honor the commitments I made to them when I was selected, Likely said. As long as the Ravens and the front office are content.