As the Baltimore Ravens’ training camp pushes along, it seems that Joe Flacco has begun to favor one receiver in particular. As I previously predicted, Tandon Doss is starting to build more chemistry with Flacco and is receiving more looks. Although the former Indiana standout is making some pretty good plays, he has had a few dropped passes. John Harbaugh knows Doss’ potential but still expects him make all the catches thrown his way.
Harbaugh has given fair criticism along with slight praise concerning Doss in interviews as reported by BaltimoreRavens.com saying, “He had a lot of balls thrown to him, so there were a couple in there – I remember a couple of drops – but I sure remember a lot of catches”. The first team reps have been spread out evenly among the receiving corps, and still Doss is continuing to thrive with one-handed catches. For Harbaugh to continually speak to Tandon Doss is reason enough for me to believe he has already made a decision in his head.
Doss not only has a chance to be the No. 3 receiver, but he can push Jacoby Jones for the No. 2 spot behind Torrey Smith. This can only be possible if he returns to the form he had in last year’s training camp. This year Doss has managed to get faster, but it appears that his “best hands on the team” title may have been stripped from him this weekend with a few missed opportunities for easy catches.
Can Doss overcome the early training camp miscues and excel to a starting spot next to Smith? Not if the other receivers have their say; they are not going away quietly. Jacoby Jones has made a few highlight-worthy catches, and Deonte Thompson has shown that he is more than just a burner with his precise route running. Even David Reed has managed to shine in his fearless mid-field attack.
Aaron Mellette, Tommy Streeter and Laquan Williams could be mentioned as well, but let’s be honest, I don’t think they are starter material just yet. Williams fought his way on the roster by his good special teams efforts and hard work during the 2011 preseason. Tommy Streeter only made the roster last year because he was drafted in 2012. He’s simply another Justin Harper as a player with great height but questionable hands. Look for Aaron Mellette to take Streeter’s roster spot and continue to improve throughout the year.
Doss looks to be ahead in the competition, and if he can remember to bring his hands to practice, he will gain plenty of playing time in 2013. But will his playing time be as the No. 2 or No. 3 receiver? There is a lot of football ahead and only time will tell who helps fill the shoes of the departed stars from last season.