The Baltimore Ravens have gone through multiple changes going into the 2013 season so far, but the wide receiver position is one that has legitimate questions that should be answered soon.
The Ravens so far have lost nine starters off of their Super Bowl roster, which is more than any defending champion has lost in the Super Bowl era. You can’t replace the leadership and the qualities a Ray Lewis or an Ed Reed bring to the table, but life goes on. Matt Birk retired after being the Ravens starting center for the previous four seasons. He’s a great player, but life goes on. Safety Bernard Pollard left as well, but the Ravens used their first round draft pick on a faster strong safety in Matt Elam. Once again, life goes on.
But out of all the moves the Ravens have made, they may be playing with fire at the receiver position with veteran Anquan Boldin gone. Who is really going to step up and take the role as the second receiver? We all know what Torrey Smith is capable of. Just go ahead and ask Champ Bailey. Jacoby Jones has been the third receiver for the Ravens so far, but he has multiple duties on special teams. Despite the questions going into training camp, Joe Flacco doesn’t seem worried at all.
Flacco believes the offense is as good as it has ever been despite the changes. “It’s the best I’ve seen us look in terms of guys knowing where to line up and knowing what they’re doing and being able to process all of that very quickly,” Flacco noted via baltimoreravens.com. “A lot of our young receivers have really taken a step forward in this offseason and took it upon themselves to make sure that they were able to get lined up quickly and know exactly what they were doing, so that way we didn’t have to worry about all that.”
Regardless, it’s a big year for players like David Reed, LaQuan Williams, and Tandon Doss. I respect where the Ravens are going with the wide receiver position. They just won the Super Bowl. There’s a little experimenting that teams can do when they come off of a Super Bowl championship. This is the Ravens’ time, now more than ever, to find out what they have in these players. Reed is in his fourth season now, so he has to show something. Williams and Doss came in the same draft class of 2011 and have been on the back burner ever since.
From a positive side, it would be a win-win situation for the Ravens and the receiving corps if things play out nicely. If the receivers play well, the Ravens have cheap investments and the players keep their jobs. From a negative perspective, if the receivers don’t play well, the Ravens have questions to answer with Boldin gone, and they may have to scrap the receiving corps next season with Smith being the only legit target on the table.
The Ravens should use this opportunity to let the players duel it out themselves. And they are doing just that. There really isn’t any need for the team to go out and sign a veteran receiver as the veteran could stunt the growth of the developing talent. It’s a new era, and the Ravens seem prepared for it.