The defending champion Baltimore Ravens will head into training camp with several new faces on the roster, but one of the most important faces to watch is one who is has a ring and will be depended on more than ever in 2013.
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones played a crucial role in the Ravens’ playoff run en route to winning the Super Bowl, but during the regular season he didn’t have to do much outside of his usual return specialist role. That changes this year after Baltimore lost wideout Anquan Boldin to their Super Bowl foe, the San Francisco 49ers.
Joe Flacco will be targeting young wide receiver Torrey Smith a heck of a lot more next year along with Jones, and they both have big shoes to fill. Boldin was not an All Pro at his age by any means, but for the Ravens’ offense, he was a security blanket.
Boldin was as dependable on 3rd down as they come, and without him, Jones is going to have an increased role. He’s currently the number two receiver on the team and finally has a shot to make some noise as a true wide receiver after only catching 157 passes in his first 6 seasons.
The 29 year-old veteran has tremendous speed and a 6’2” frame that gives Flacco a big target down field. He’s shown flashes of being able to contribute at a consistent basis as a wide receiver, but in 2012 only caught 30 passes for 406 yards and a single touchdown in the regular season. In the playoffs last year, though, Jones caught two scores.
Throughout training camp it will be crucial for Jones to establish himself as being a true option within the offense. He’s going to have to work harder than ever before on the offensive side of the ball — rather than special teams — to make his presence known. He has a chance to be an integral part of the team this season, and the Ravens will be counting on him in a big way.