For the past two seasons, the Ravens have brought in two veteran wide receivers in hopes of adding a third weapon for Joe Flacco. TJ Houshmandzadeh was a free agent acquisition who played in Seattle the prior year. Housh was constantly complaining and was extremely disappointing except for the winning touchdown catch against the Steelers in week four.
Of the two, Lee Evans was the biggest disappointment. Evans was viewed as the guy who would add speed to the Ravens offense and at the same time, bring a veteran presence to an unexperienced group. While Evans looked good in the preseason, Evans was unable to make an impact on the Ravens offense due to an injury that sidelined him throughout a majority of the season.
When Evans was healthy in the playoffs, he did make a few nice catches that helped the team get a first down but in the end, he dropped the most important pass in the history of his career which was mostly spent in Buffalo where playoff success, let alone appearances were hard to come by.
Now, both Evans and Housh came to Baltimore with a lot of expectations and excitement. This is one of the main reasons I like the Jacoby Jones signing. Unlike Evans or Housh, Jones has had a disappointing career. With a guy of his size (6’2″), and speed, you could make an argument that Jones has been an underachiever thus far.
While Jones may look like an underachiever, you also have to remember that Jones played in an offense with Andre Johnson and more recently, Arian Foster. It is easy to be overlooked in an offense with so many weapons.
So what exactly can Jones bring to the team? First of all, he brings some return ability. Jones is regarded as one of the more dangerous return men in the NFL. Jones should be the starting punt returner so the Ravens can protect their recent investment in Lardarius Webb. A legitimate kick off return man is something the Ravens have been looking for since BJ Sams who is second all time in Ravens history for kick return yards.
Secondly, Jones brings another vertical threat to the offense. Both Jones and Smith can lineup on the outside to clear out space for Anquan Boldin, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, and Ray Rice coming out of the backfield. Eventually, teams will have to bring the secondary closer to the line to prevent underneath passes. That is when the Ravens can call some play action passes to Jones and Smith.
Again, I like the Jacoby Jones addition because he is under the radar at this point. There is not a lot of pressure on him which will make his transition to the Ravens a lot easier.