Are the Baltimore Ravens Receivers Developing Stone Hands?

The Baltimore Ravens had a nice showing in general with a 44-16 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They displayed quality depth at running back, the offensive line made running lanes, the defense showed aggressiveness and improvements were shown by second-string quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

Everything was smooth on offense Thursday night except at wide receiver and tight end.

My colleague Jermaine Lockett discussed Laquan Williams and his standout performance, which I agree with. Williams to me seems like a front-runner for the second or third receiver spots. But key players like Jacoby Jones, Deonte Thompson, Tandon Doss and even tight end Visanthe Shiancoe either had drop after drop or didn’t get enough separation over the course of the game.

It is more troubling for Thompson and Doss because Joe Flacco believes both players will play be a big part of what the Ravens will do in the 2013 season.

“We’ve got a couple of those guys at wide receiver — Tandon [Doss] and Deonte [Thompson],” Flacco noted on Tuesday via

People always like to say, “well, it’s just preseason,” and while that may be true to some degree, there are players on an NFL roster who don’t have the luxury of getting the benefit of the doubt in that regard. Some players actually have to play well in preseason games. The Ravens have to know entering the regular season that they have the right pieces in place.

Jones hasn’t shown he can be a reliable No. 2 receiver. He is an excellent returner, and a talent as the third wide receiver in an offense, but that is as far as I think he will go with the Ravens.

Doss was groomed under Anquan Boldin in previous years, and has shown the inconsistency to catch the ball over the middle. He has talent, but he hasn’t put it together yet.

Did the Ravens make a mistake letting Boldin go? In my opinion, no, because as good as Boldin was in the postseason for Ravens last season, he didn’t solve the Ravens problems in terms of having multiple receivers who can get separation. Regardless of if the Ravens kept Boldin, the situation with the depth at receiver was something that had to be addressed, and the fact that tight end Dennis Pitta is out for the season just makes things more complicated.

It’s just one preseason game, but the Ravens seem to have more questions than answers at this point.

Wola Odeniran is a writer for Follow him on twitter at WolaOdeniran52, or add him to your network on Google

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  • biscuit

    While it is important to analyze these games, we have to be careful not to over- analyze. We use metrics such as yards, catches, etc. to gauge performance. Beyond that there are some gray areas which need to be explored to fully evaluate performance.

    Case in point, Tandon Doss was targeted a few times while in heavy coverage. He had no catches. But there was also a 3rd and 2 where he was wide open in the middle of the field but Flacco had already locked onto Jones who was double covered and the pass fell incomplete. The point is, while it’s easy to see a dearth of metrics, there are plenty of other factors which come into play. Examination of film will truly show if the receivers did not get separation, the wrong play was called, or if Flacco just missed his windows. Perhaps it is simply a chemistry issue with Flacco and his recievers.

    The other issue I would take is regarding Williams’ performance. He was a beast no doubt but he was matched against at best 2nd and 3rd string corners and LB’s. At that time, the coaches must have been comfortable with the work that Doss had because they pulled him in favor of the younger guys. I am not trying to take away any of the good play that special teams had but they were playing against many guys who will likely not even make the TB roster.

    I think the preseason is truly important but it’s hard to get too worried or enthusiastic about performances.

    • WolaOdeniran

      Good take I like it. I guess my issue is we really don’t know who the young receivers are at this point so we may have to nitpick at times but shouldn’t do it too much. The good news for Laquan Williams for example is that he has proven he can play a bit against backups. It’s time for him to take that next step. Hopefully other receivers on the team can follow him.