Tandon Doss stands to the side and watches as his receiving corps mates run through drills.
The competition for as many as 6 wide receiver spots will be fierce. Adding to the mix is the possibility that the Ravens might only keep 5 wide receivers.
You see to make the final 53 man roster, receivers on a team that features the not-exactly-innovative Cam Cameron as its offensive coordinator must be special if they are fourth or deeper on the depth chart. In other words they must make an impact on special teams. If not a third or fourth tight end, or a reserve linebacker – perhaps even a defensive back fighting to survive could knock a sixth wide out off the final 53.
Let’s look at the field competing to catch spirals from Joe Flacco.
The locks to make the team are Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. That leaves LaQuan Williams, David Reed, Tommy Streeter and Tandon Doss to fight it out for the two or three other spots.
Williams and Reed have made an impact on teams. And before you go and throw Reed under the bus for his butterfingers on kickoff returns, keep in mind that he is regarded by the coaches as one of the clubs best gunners on the punt coverage unit. He’s also a productive practice player on the scout team and has presented problems for the Ravens’ formidable defense on weekdays at the field now know as the Under Armour Performance Center.
The trouble with Reed is that he’s been unable to be as productive on Sundays and perhaps even worse, his propensity for injury makes him untrustworthy. And the $7M the Ravens committed to Jacoby Jones offsets Reed’s occasional return explosiveness and therefore that puts him in the long shot category.
Tommy Streeter is a project. He has raw skills that need nurturing and with the right amount of development the Ravens see the former Hurricane as a red zone threat. But a lanky 6’5”, 220 pound frame isn’t exactly what good teamers are made of. If the Ravens are lucky, they’ll be able to slide him on to the practice squad.
And this brings us back to Doss.
The former Hoosier doesn’t possess the hair-on-fire mentality of a teamer. He’s also not built for teams and as such if he makes the final 53 man squad, he’ll be on the active roster about as much as the retired Matt Stover.
So is that a good use of the roster spot – a roster that is likely to have a dead spot until November as the team patiently awaits the return of Terrell Suggs?
The money here is on Williams over Doss and at best a quiet season of inactivity for the player hand-picked by Joe Flacco prior to the 2010 NFL Draft.