Anquan Boldin likes what he sees from the Ravens' WR corps
In today’s NFL – which has evolved considerably since their sole Super Bowl win – the Ravens can’t have a struggling offense and expect to hoist the Lombardi trophy in February.
Many headlines have been made about Ray Rice’s contract situation and many national talking heads have doubted Joe Flacco’s abilities under center but the one thing that could cure most of the Ravens offensive struggles is improved play from the wide receiving corp.
At this point in his career, Anquan Boldin is best suited to be a slot receiver but without a lot of depth on the 2011 roster, Boldin often found himself outside the numbers, along with rookie Torrey Smith.
Smith had one of the most memorable games in NFL history as he caught three touchdowns on his first three catches in the first quarter of the Ravens third game against the St. Louis Rams. This was immediately on the heels of being shut out for the first two games of his career. Hearing what Boldin had to say yesterday about how important mini-camps are, Smith’s slow start may make a bit more sense.
“I think the good thing this year is that they got a chance to get in earlier this year and learn the offense. Unfortunately, last year we were going through the lockout and those guys didn’t get the same opportunities but the rookies have been here from the start of offseason workouts and they got a chance to grasp the offense,” Boldin said.
According to Boldin, unlike the situation Smith and fellow rookie Tandon Doss found themselves in last year, “guys are able to play right now as opposed to thinking about it.”
Smith is now the Ravens’ primary threat at wide out and has had plenty of time to acclimate himself to Cam Cameron’s offense and to quarterback Joe Flacco’s strengths and weaknesses.
When asked if this group is the best WR corps he’s played with in Baltimore, Boldin seemed optimistic.
“From an overall standpoint, I would say yeah”. They’re talented and hungry, any time you have a bunch of guys that’s competing for two [or] three jobs you’re going to bring out the best in them and that’s what I think it’s doing.”
Despite the sloppy conditions at the first day of mini-camp, Boldin was also impressed with his quarterback.
“I thought he looked real good, especially throwing in the rain. The ball was still pinpoint and he didn’t have any problems. Most quarterbacks have problems throwing different routes throwing in the rain but if you just looked at him, you couldn’t tell he was throwing in the rain.”
Flacco has been at all of the team’s offseason workouts, starting with Day 1 of voluntary mini-camps. In Boldin’s eyes, that type of leadership-by-example can set the tone for the entire team.
“I think it sets a precedent; he’s a leader on this team. Whenever you have a leader like that, guys want to look up to him and guys want to emulate what he’s doing. He’s had success in this league and in order for them to have success, they’ve got to see guys that are successful, that’s the precedent that he’s shown. “
Entering his tenth NFL season (his third in Baltimore), the veteran wide receiver knows just what it takes to prepare for the grueling months ahead.
“For me I come in every year with something different to work on. You’re never at a point in your career where you get satisfied with what you’re doing and where you’re at. For me I continue to work on things day in and day out, I look at a lot of film, I watch myself on film and if there’s a certain way I come out of a route, it’s definitely something I take into account and work on in the offseason.”