With Training camp just about a month away one of the biggest points of debate among Ravens fans is the Receiving Corps. The rumor mill was churning as apparently the team was exploring the possibility of bringing either Anquan Boldin or Brandon Marshall into the fold. It seems that even the national media is weighing in as well as Ed Thompson at Fox Sports has the Ravens receiving issues as his top point in his article.
Baltimore finished 27th in receiving last year, averaging just 192.8 yards per game. And although the team was breaking in a rookie quarterback, the guys running routes have to shoulder their share of the blame for that lackluster result.
Bottom line, if the team wants sophomore quarterback Joe Flacco to continue to progress, they should grab at least one more target who is a great possession receiver.
Despite the media flurry over the possibility of the Ravens pursuing Brandon Marshall, and the team’s obvious need for someone with his overall ability, he doesn’t seem to be a strong character fit for Baltimore. I just have a hard time seeing head coach John Harbaugh putting up with any off-the-field problems of the type that have haunted Marshall over the past few years.
So what can they do at this late date? The Ravens should consider putting a one-year deal on the table in front of former-Colt Marvin Harrison or former Titans and Rams receiver Drew Bennett. While both had highly forgettable seasons in 2008 due to injuries, they are disciplined route-runners with great hands.
First you have to ask yourself if you think that the current crop on the roster has enough talent to be successful and go back to the playoffs and beyond.
There are plenty of people that would say the team looks fine and that Derrick Mason is too dependable, Clayton is on the verge of breaking out, Williams will be healthy and a difference maker and Marcus Smith will emerge. But I see it differently.
Derrick Mason is the best receiver this franchise has ever known. But his words to the media three weeks ago indicated he HOPES to be ready for the season opener against KC. So, the team’s best receiver may not be available to start the season.
Mark Clayton has always shown flashes of ability but hasn’t contributed on a weekly basis. Williams has great tools but the coaches are concerned he won’t be ready. The staff seems high on Marcus Smith but why wouldn’t they be? Who else is healthy on this team? Kelley Washington? He caught one pass in last two seasons.
So to me it’s clear that they need to explore a move. But who?
Brandon Marshall’s off the field issues are a concern but he was never a question on the field. The price would be steep and I don’t think the Ravens will pay it.
Plaxico Burress may have the book thrown at him by the Commish. Braylon Edwards would never get traded to a division rival. Marvin Harrison may retire but he might be worth a low risk contract. Drew Bennett? He’s still in the league?
So finding that upgrade appears easier said than done. There is still time of course but I seem to think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to wait it out until August and revisit the Anquan Boldin scenario.
First, the Ravens need to lock up Terrell Suggs, which they appear closer to doing. That should help ease that nasty cap number a bit and give a better idea of what kind of contract they could take on. Then let’s see how Cardinals camp progresses when all the former NFC champs are practicing. Will Boldin make life so miserable that the team must move him? Remember after one week of shopping him the team’s asking price dropped and became a lot easier to swallow.
Signing Boldin to a long term deal gives Flacco a target for years and let’s the team decide who stays and who goes. Mason, Clayton and Williams’ contract all expire after this season. Something to think about.
So, where do you stand? Do you think things are fine or do you think they should make a move and if so Who?