The court of public opinion in and around Baltimore is that the Ravens are thin at wide receiver.
Whether the Ravens address the position either through free agency or a trade remains to be seen.
But as for that wildly popular opinion, don’t count Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss as one of its proponents.
Heading into his third NFL season, Doss thinks the Ravens already have what it takes on the roster.
“Me personally, I do [believe we have what it takes],” Doss said. “You’re always going to have confidence within yourself.”
As training camp commences, Doss is looked at as the favorite to replace departed wide receiver Anquan Boldin in the Ravens offense. The loss of Boldin has sent much of the fan base into a panic, and Doss understands why.
“I’ve never seen somebody work that hard, just off the field,” Doss said. “He taught me a lot.”
Boldin was a major mentor of his since his first day as a member of the Ravens. Doss doesn’t a player of the caliber of Boldin can even be replaced.
“Obviously, that’s a different type of breed right there,” Doss said, referring to Boldin. “He’s a best, you really can’t replace him. I’m just looking to fill in and do my thing and become my own player.”
Upon hearing that Doss’ mentor had been traded, he admitted it was a catch-22 for him emotionally.
“Mixed emotions,” Doss said. “Obviously you don’t want to see a guy like that go. He was a leader on offense and I learned a lot from him. At the same time, my goal is to be a starter.”
Doss realizes his popularity doesn’t compare to Boldin’s here in Charm City, but at the same time he’s just trying to be himself and help the Ravens in any way possible.
“I’m not here to please everybody’s expectations,” he said. “I’m here to do what I do. That’s the only thing I can control, it’s making plays out there on the field.”
Even though he plays on the opposite side of the ball, one of the Ravens newest superstars is already a fan of Doss. Pass rushing specialist/quarterback eater Elvis Dumervil felt inclined to lend his two cents as he passed us in the hallway at the Under Armour Performance Center.
“He’s going to change the game,”Dumervil casually said while passing by. “He’s an impact receiver.”
An impact receiver is what the Ravens are hoping for out of Doss and hope that he can make that transition this season. After being shut out his rookie season, Doss caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. While Doss’ contributions were good enough for the Ravens to win a Super Bowl as a team in 2012, they’re going to be counting on an even greater contribution if they stand a chance for a repeat performance.
“More so this year, I think there’s going to be more of a rotation [at wide receiver],” Doss said in regards to the landscape of the young wide outs. “Based on plays and the situation in the game, it’ll determine who’s going to be in, but we all can play.”
The competition for Doss may be stiff, but he’s staying focused on what he can control, himself. His expectations are the same, but hopefully his improved efforts and a fresh start at training camp become the difference maker between playing time or watching from the sidelines.
“I’ve had the same expectations as I’ve had day one,” he said. “That’s to become a starter and do everything in my power to do that.”