The Baltimore Ravens must have seen something they didn’t like during their film sessions this weekend as general manager Ozzie Newsome is looking to make his biggest splash. His organization will work out former New York Giants and New England Patriots tight end Jake Ballard.
According to Fox Sports 1’s NFL Insider Mike Garafolo, the 25-year-old free agent is looking for a team, and Baltimore has given him a call to see what he can offer their franchise.
The Ravens have been scrambling at the tight end position since Dennis Pitta was lost for the season in early August when he suffered a dislocated hip. To supplant the fallen Pitta, Baltimore has brought in aging veterans like Dallas Clark and Visanthe Shiancoe to try out for the team and potentially contribute with the top unit.
Shiancoe was cut and Clark led the Ravens in targets in Week 1, but had several key drops that made the team question his efforts going forward. Fourth-year tight end Ed Dickson wasn’t exactly a stud in Week 1 either, as he added just one catch for 13 yards in just five targets.
Looking at Clark’s performance, you wouldn’t think the coaches would be looking for yet another hopeful at the tight end position, but a guy with Ballard’s size and blocking ability could fit more of the mold that the Ravens need at tight end.
At 6-foot-6 , 275 pounds, Ballard has the size and strength the Ravens need for their power running game. Baltimore only ran the ball 21 times for 58 yards in their 49-27 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos and with the status of right tackle Michael Oher still uncertain, adding a guy like Ballard could aid rookie right tackle Rick Wagner if he has to play.
The move makes sense, but it isn’t going to change much in the passing game. Ballard is in his fourth season and has 38 career receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns. He’s not exactly replacing Pitta or Anquan Boldin with those numbers.