Ravens’ receiving corps looks familiar

Street Talk Ravens’ receiving corps looks familiar

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OWINGS MILLS — No trades for Anquan Boldin or Brandon Marshall, no offer sheet for free agent Torry Holt and no wide receivers drafted.


For the Baltimore Ravens, it was an offseason where they explored upgrading the receiving corps before ultimately deciding to go with the status quo with the lone exception of signing Kelley Washington to a one-year veteran minimum contract.


And the Ravens have decided to not immediately sign New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree, signaling their intentions to head into Sunday’s season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs with four wide receivers.


Although Tyree impressed the Ravens during his tryout Tuesday, the Ravens decided this isn’t the time to add the reserve receiver and special-teams ace to the roster.


Due to a combination of injury concerns, including knee, groin and hamstring problems that have plagued Tyree, as well as the fact that his salary would be guaranteed for the year as a vested veteran, the Ravens opted to remain in a holding pattern at this time.


"He’s not a Raven at this point," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Tyree, who has also drawn some interest from the Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams. "We saw a lot. David Tyree did a tremendous job. He’s everything that we thought he was. He got after the workout. He attacked the workout, and that’s the way he’s played all those years.


"We’ve just got to see, make sure he’s 100 percent ready to go and get some of the little things healed up. That’s probably the main thing right now. We’ll take it slow at this time. In the meantime, he may sign with somebody else, but we’re going to take that part of it a little bit slower."


The Ravens looked into trade scenarios about Boldin around the NFL draft, but the Arizona Cardinals’ trade compensation demands as well as his $8 million to $10 million annual salary request killed any chance of a deal.


Holt was deemed to be too expensive.


Marshall is considered to be too much trouble.


Marshall has had multiple off-field problems and was suspended by the Denver Broncos during the preseason for conduct detrimental to the team for his unprofessional behavior during practice, including the petulant act of punting the football.


Despite the Ravens’ pursuit of a possible fifth wide receiver, that hasn’t apparently affected the confidence of the receivers on the roster now, which includes two-time Pro Bowl selection Derrick Mason, former first-round draft pick Mark Clayton, Washington and former fourth-round draft pick Demetrius Williams.


Sidelined during the preseason with a strained left hamstring, Clayton is expected to return for the Chiefs game.


"The organization knows, they’re very good," said Clayton when asked about the Ravens’ confidence level in the receiving corps. "They know what we need to win games. They’re going to put us in the best position to win ballgames. As players here, we feel like we have what we need.


"We’ve got what it takes. We’ve got guys that can get down the field, underneath, make big plays, make tough plays. Anything you name it, we can do. We know what we can do."


Mason expressed confidence that the passing game is ready to take off with quarterback Joe Flacco entering his second season after a successful rookie campaign.


“I think the offense is light years ahead of where we were last year," Mason said. "Obviously, it’s supposed to be that way. Either you’re getting worse or you’re getting better as a team, as a person. We’re not staying the same. I believe that we’re getting better as an offense. 


"Mainly, the quarterback, has been under this system for more than one year. We expect the second year to be a lot better than the first year. We are light years ahead of where we were last year, but we’ve still got a lot of ground to cover. As the weeks go on, we just tend to get better.”


The Ravens decided to cut Justin Harper after a shaky preseason where he dropped multiple passes, nearly matching the amount that he caught.


 Now, Harper is trying to improve his consistency while toiling on the practice squad.


"I’ve got to be ready whenever they need me," Harper said. "I know the system and I’m here if something happens so they don’t need to go outside the team to find somebody. I want to make them trust me, so they’ll want to pull me up to the active roster."


Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
Photo by Sabina Moran.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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