Training Camp Q&A

Flacco Caldwell

Do you think that the Ravens will go back to a more smash-mouth approach now that Dennis Pitta has been lost for the season and no one seems to be stepping up to fill Anquan Boldin’s shoes? Ken in White Hall

That seems to be the popular consensus, particularly after Vonta Leach agreed to re-join the team. But I’m not buying it, not yet. I expect the Ravens to be a 60-40 (pass-run) offense. I think Jim Caldwell plans to spread the defense in order to create space for both the passing game and the running game. I also expect the Ravens to maintain a quick tempo, something Caldwell is emphasizing during camp.

Based upon your Camp Notes it sounds as if the Ravens will have trouble at wide receiver. Will anyone emerge from what seems to be a rather pedestrian group of receivers? Malcolm in Owings Mills

I think it’s still early and I do believe something or someone will emerge in the passing game that will help to offset the losses. Pitta and Boldin combined for 126 receptions last season and that amounted to 40% of Joe Flacco’s 317 regular season completions. The Ravens might not replace those receptions with two players but instead through ball distribution amongst a few players.

If you look back to 2011, the Ravens lost 131 receptions from their roster when Derrick Mason, Todd Heap and TJ Houshmandzadeh all departed. That represented 43% of Flacco’s 306 completions. The following season Flacco connected 312 times.

From what you’ve seen so far how does Elvis Dumervil compare to Paul Kruger? Matt in Severna Park

They are completely different players. Kruger last year developed some power moves as a pass rusher with a combination of swim, bull and punch tactics. Dumervil reminds me of Dwight Freeney a bit in how he lowers his body, gets small and gets in under taller offensive tackles that aren’t as quick to keep up and lose their opportunity to use their arm length to maintain leverage and lengthen the path to the quarterback.

If camp is any indication, Dumervil and Terrell Suggs should be fun to watch together. Perhaps we’ll see the dawning of Sizzleville.

Don’t you think the Ravens could have used the $2M deal with incentives more productively than at fullback with Vonta Leach who is really a dying breed in the NFL? Walt from Canton

Those figures have been floated out there regarding Leach but something tells me the actuals will be south of that figure. We’re waiting on the NFLPA to release the numbers.

The Ravens want to be multiple and they want to be able to keep teams on their heals by going at them in different ways. If they want to play power ball in December against lighter teams, they can. If they want to go finesse and spread the field against slower teams, they’ll be able to do that as well.

Let’s also keep in mind that Jameel McClain has yet to take the practice field and has not yet been cleared for practice. He may never be and if that’s the case McClain and the Ravens could reach an injury settlement, which would provide more cap space.

I doubt that Ozzie Newsome has finished augmenting the team’s roster. He almost always finds that “right player, right price” sometime in mid to late August. I don’t expect 2013 to be any different.

With Jacoby Jones currently listed second on the depth chart at WR, do you think he’ll be limited in the return game? Carla in Federal Hill

It’s possible. Perhaps we see less of Jacoby with punt returns yielding to someone like Asa Jackson. He might also share time as a kick returner, particularly early on with someone like Deonte Thompson or even David Reed.

The one thing that could change all of this is if the Ravens do pick up another receiver who sees the field ahead of Jacoby. If that happens the Ravens will use the 2012 Pro Bowler in a role very similar to his role last season.

11 Raves on “Training Camp Q&A

    • John on said:

      Totally agree, definately going to be yelling “WELCOME TO SIZZLEVILLE!!” to the TV a lot this season everytime the opposing QB goes down….

  1. Josh on said:

    Thank you for pointing out how the loss of receptions from 2011 to last year did not affect Flacco’s performance. I remember a time when Mason and Heap were his favorite targets, and everyone panicked when those two players left. Yes, Pitta was a HUGE loss, but Joe will find someone else to throw the ball to; perhaps multiple new teammates.

  2. Jamie on said:

    The difference between those 2011 numbers and now: We signed Boldin. If Ozzie signs any WRs this offseason, they won’t be of the same caliber because they can’t take the cap hit.

    Letting Boldin go will prove to be a bad move this offseason-especially with Pitta out now. I like the optimism, really do, but these young WRs aren’t proving their worth in training camp and time is ticking.

    • Mill on said:

      You make it sound as though the Ravens cut Heap and Mason and then went out and got Boldin. It didn’t unfold that way, Q was already here. They offset the loss of Heap, Mason and Houshmanzadah by drafting Torrey Smith, bring in Evans (which didn’t help) and giving Dickson and Pitta larger roles. I guess the point I am making is that Heap, Mason and Housh’s production was not picked up by additions. It was largely picked up by guys that were already here. Rice, Boldin, Dickson and Pitta were already on the team and they picked up almost all of the slack. The only guy who wasn’t already here that chipped in was Torrey. I expect the same will happen in this case.

  3. jws on said:

    LEACH DEAL for those have yet to see it are: 1.16 signing bonus,840k salary and 50k in other incentives.
    2014 1.75 total. Only 1.16 million is guaranteed. cap hit this year 1/47 and 2.33 next year if all money paid out and Leach here both years. Ozzie was able to reduce Leach’s cap number from 4.33 million under old contract to 2.86 if released before this season starts. Another good, patience move by Ozzie. I don’t agree Tony on your 40% run ratio at best 50/50. Too many drop passes by too many so so receivers on this roster that have past histories of bad production. If Jones was a #2 receiver Houston would have played him there and not released him.. He catches with his body not his hands and is a better return guy and part time player than what they want him to do in this offense. The Ravens will sign another veteran with good hands and short pass receiving skills at some point.

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