During his podium session following Tuesday’s practice, Ravens offensive coordiantor Marc Trestman provided a bit of insight regarding his use of the team’s raw wide receiver corps.
Outside of Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman, it’s been a virtual unknown as to how the Ravens plan to utilize a group of, basically, possession receivers. Trestman is – and always will be – all about skill sets. The new offensive coordinator isn’t afraid to step outside the box when it comes to lining up his receivers.
In recent years, NFL teams have utilized a small, shifty receiver out of the slot. That mold has become the norm. While the Ravens have a few wideouts who meet that criteria, Trestman has another way to utilize slot receivers.
“A lot of times you’re on the third corner – the nickel – and you have the opportunity to play against a guy who isn’t playing every down,” said Trestman. “And again, the size is a factor; it’s a benefit.”
Throughout training camp and into the preseason, Trestman has used a number of combinations in the slot receiver role. Darren Waller, Marlon Brown, Smith Sr., Michael Campanaro and Kamar Aiken have all moved inside at some point.
“I think that you try to utilize the skill set – the size – the skill set of the guys that you have and work routes and scheme that you can work with those guys in those areas,” remaked Trestman. “We just try to maximize their strengths that they have in that area.
“There’s going to be a size matchup that we’re going to try to take advantage of.”
Currently, the Ravens have six wide receivers that measure 6′-0″ or more on their 90-man roster. Waller (6-6), Marlon Brown and Daniel Brown (both 6-5) are the tallest.
Undrafted wideout DeAndre Carter (5-8) along with Campanaro (5-9) and Smith Sr. (5-9) register as the shortest.
Unlike in years past, when talking about the Ravens receiver corps now, no player is pigeonholed to one role. Trestman believes each player, whether starter or third string, needs to build a resume over the course of camp and the preseason. This benefits both player and coaching staff.
“At this point in time, everybody’s trying to build a resume to play on all sides – outside, inside and wherever else they can get on the field,” Trestman said. “So, that’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to allow them to build a resume, so we can make some decisions along the way.”
Saturday against Washington, the team will trot out what likely will be their starting cast come Week one in Denver. John Harbaugh has shown in seasons past that he will at least work his “starters” in to halftime during this third preseason game.
While the Ravens are unlikely to tip their hand regarding scheme, in what’s perhaps the most important game of the preseason, fans should keep a watchful eye on the slot position when it comes to matchups.
That will give us an idea of whose “resume” has been updated to perhaps read “Ravens slot receiver” – and, alternatively, who should think of updating theirs for their next team.
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