Baltimore Ravens’ fans assume the signing of Brandon Stokley was because of Thursday night’s performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by starting wide receivers Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss. They may be right, but once again fans are hitting the panic button entirely too early and I’ll tell you why.
Ozzie Newsome thinks about situations differently than any other GM, coach and fan does. While we as fans saw that Doss and Jones couldn’t create separation at times and missed their targeted opportunities, Newsome saw an opportunity for mentorship. There were younger guys he could have signed to compete in camp such as Stefan Logan and Seyi Ajirotutu, who both are still young enough to help on special teams as well as the slot; however, Newsome’s decision to bring in Stokley is two-fold.
Stokley just worked with arguably the most brilliant active player mind in NFL history in Peyton Manning. To have him here in Baltimore giving Joe Flacco a couple of pointers is a great idea. I am not going to completely deny his skill as a receiver as he did manage to score on us in the playoffs last year. I will tell you that the other reason Newsome brought him in was due to his experience in the slot and how he can share some of that wisdom with the young receivers aspiring to claim that spot.
There is also a bit of loyalty not only coming from Newsome in drafting Stokley back in 1999, but from Jim Caldwell who worked with him during his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts from 2003-06. Caldwell knows Doss and Thompson will feel the pressure with Stokley pushing them in camp. This is a “win-win” situation for the Ravens. Should he win the third receiver spot outright, it shows he’s a hard worker and deserves it; however, should another young buck step up and win the job, we’ll know his mentoring had something to do with it. Either way as I’ve stated before, the sky is not falling in Baltimore.