Doss’ rookie season was a disappointment after the fourth-round pick failed to record a reception in only six games, but few observers would have argued how impressive the Indiana product was catching the football during last year’s training camp.
His lack of speed is the area that holds him back, but Doss got stronger and worked on his explosiveness this offseason and the early return has been favorable at the start of camp. While he will never be a burner, he was able to slip past Smith on a deep route down the sideline and reined in a long pass from quarterback Joe Flacco last week in what might be a sign that he has enough speed to be a successful NFL receiver. Doss also had a sports hernia surgery following his final season at Indiana that hindered his speed last season, according to Harbaugh.
A receiver such as Doss must run excellent routes and be able to catch passes in traffic to be successful, so the added muscle will certainly help, but his superb hands in practice must transfer over to games that matter for him to see the field more in his second season. If they do, he could emerge as an intriguing option on third down and short passing situations.
5. The early return suggests Sergio Kindle might have a future with the Ravens after all.
I’ve said on numerous occasions to forget the expectations that existed for Kindle prior to his fall down two flights of stairs that could have claimed his life two years ago. Kindle probably wouldn’t have even made the 2011 roster if not for his draft standing from the previous season as he was essentially an NFL version of a Rule 5 player while appearing in only two games a year ago.
After a full offseason to work out at the team’s Owings Mills facility, Kindle has a better grasp of his defensive assignments and it appears the coaching staff has simplified things for him as he’s largely played with his hand on the ground in an effort to get after the quarterback during team drills. Kindle was impressive on Friday, collecting several sacks and an interception off a deflection — albeit in a practice without full pads and full contact.
Kindle must excel on special teams to solidify a roster spot for the fall, but it would be a bonus if he can pitch in on passing situations as the season progresses. He’s unlikely to ever be the player the Ravens envisioned prior to his accident, but Kindle has the size and athleticism to stick in the NFL if he can overcome the hearing loss sustained in the fall and the doubts about his ability to react quickly enough to opposing offenses.