With his two top targets gone, Joe Flacco becomes “the guy” in Baltimore

July 26, 2011 | Peter Dilutis

Ravens fans want Joe to be “the guy.”

Now he gets his chance.

His safety nets are gone. Assuming the Ravens do not re-sign Mason to a cheaper deal, and Mason himself indicated that he had not yet discussed that possibility with Ozzie Newsome, the 11 yard quick-outs will be a thing of the past in Baltimore.

So will the “Heeeeeeeap” chants that resonated throughout M&T Bank Stadium whenever Todd Heap caught a pass from Flacco. Often in the red-zone, Flacco would look towards Heap and then proceed to throw the ball away if his big tight end was covered.

The offense is Joe’s to control. Even if the Ravens sign a veteran wide receiver such as Steve Smith to replace Mason, they will still be working in some young receivers. Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, and David Reed all figure to get their chance to gain consistent playing time in this 2011 Ravens offense. Justin Harper and James Hardy are also in the mix at receiver.

Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, two second-year tight ends that saw limited action in 2010, will jump to the forefront of the tight ends battle along with a third-year player in Davon Drew.

Back in May when the Ravens practiced at Towson University, Joe Flacco drove up in his pick-up truck and out came Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, and Tyrod Taylor.

Flacco was leading. He was showing the young guys the ropes. It wasn’t his place to do that when he was surrounded by the likes of Todd Heap and Derrick Mason; players that had been through the wars and experienced all there is to see in NFL life.

But now it is his place. Flacco, heading into his fourth season in Baltimore, is only a year behind Ben Grubbs as the longest tenured offensive player currently under contract for the Ravens.