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There’s no question that Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin has made a huge impact this year, which is partly why he was named the team’s 2010 Man of the Year.
But Boldin has seen a drop-off in receptions recently.
Over the past three games, Boldin has a combined six catches for 58 yards. He’s been targeted six times in the Ravens’ past two contests.
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron offered an explanation Thursday.
Cameron said “targets” aren’t an accurate measure of how many times a player is being targeted by his coordinator on a play. A target is simply a measure of how many times the ball is actually thrown to that player.
“You’re really targeting guys and then the defense takes it away,” Cameron said.
“People know who he is. You see kind of an ebb and flow. You see they’re taking him away, then [Derrick] Mason starts to come alive a little bit more, then they’re taking Mason away. Now they’ve been doubling Mason and Q and T.J. [Houshmandzadeh]”
Cameron was referring to a couple plays this past Sunday when the Browns dropped nine players in coverage and had a spy on the backfield in the red zone. That meant a two-man rush.
It worked the first time for Cleveland, as Flacco missed high to Boldin in the back of the end zone on third down. The second time, Flacco threw the perfect strike on a post pattern to Houshmandzadeh for a touchdown.
Part of the reason why Baltimore added so many vertical weapons this season is to leave somebody free if the stars are doubled. If it’s successful in helping the team win, that’s what Cameron and Boldin care about.
Sometimes Boldin is doubled, which has helped Mason recent resurgence (six touchdowns in eight games since the bye). It can also open up the ground game and check-down to Ray Rice, who has seen increased carries the past two weeks and now leads the Ravens in receptions (63).
Still, Boldin is a dangerous weapon whom the Ravens like to get the ball. He currently ranks second on the Ravens in receptions (62).
Cameron said there’s ways to get Boldin open despite the extra attention teams are giving him. For obvious reasons, he couldn’t go into specific tactics.
“It depends on how they’re doubling him,” Cameron said. “If they’re doubling him inside-out, over-and-under, outside-in. If you know, then there’s ways to get another receiver inside to get the other guy doubled and him singled.
“There’s still ways for us to get guys open and I think you’ll see that down the stretch.”