After Smith, the only receiver on the roster with significant experience is Jacoby Jones. Before his star turn on the ABC reality show, Jones had an outstanding season as a return man and a marginal season as a wide receiver-save for two plays. Jones’ improbable late TD catch against the Denver Broncos and big TD haul in New Orleans against the San Francisco 49ers are not likely to be forgotten by Baltimore Ravens fans at any point.
But for all who pointed out Anquan Boldin’s regular season numbers weren’t as sparkling as his postseason run, it cannot be lost that Jones caught a TOTAL of 30 balls for 406 yards in 2012. His receiving touchdown total?
As of the moment, that’s your second best receiver.
Of course, the Ravens would benefit from not having to put their top return man (and a potential option to serve in both kick and punt return roles again this season) on the field quite as much offensively. In order for that to happen, the team would have to feel much more confident about the group behind him.
Despite the bemoans of Ravens fans, Tandon Doss is the most likely candidate to emerge from the group. He was clearly the team’s fourth receiver the last two seasons, spending more games active and getting more occasional snaps than the others. While that has not translated on the field at all-John Harbaugh and the team’s coaching staff has remained defensive of Doss, pointing to his performance in practice as a reason they believe in him.
Doss might be in the most “make or break” situation of a Ravens receiver, but his performance this week is unlikely to change his opportunity for Training Camp. This team is going to give him a chance to be a contributor in 2013. It will be up to him to seize the opportunity.
Our own WNST.net Ravens insider Luke Jones informed us that during OTA’s, there wasn’t much in the way of separation from the rest of the group. Deonte Thompson, David Reed and LaQuan Williams all have minimal game experience at the position; Tommy Streeter and Aaron Mellette are the headliners of the rest of the group that has none.
This is the type of week that can determine which of that group gets more opportunities for reps in Training Camp. This is the type of week where an undrafted free agent can end up being a guy quarterback Joe Flacco brings up in conversation with Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell during the weeks between now and Camp.
“Where did we find Marlon Brown?” Flacco could end up asking. “That kid seemed to snag everything he was thrown. Let me work with him a bit when we get back.”
It’s hypothetical, but that’s the value (if any) of minicamp. The value might also be the chance for head coach John Harbaugh to say to GM Ozzie Newsome “I know we wanted to believe in our own guys, but is it time for us to take another look at what type of free agent we could still bring in?”
Ray Lewis is gone. Ed Reed is gone. Super Bowl XLVII is gone. The reveling…at least inside the building…is officially over.
The preparation for the next one moves into overdrive this week.