Ravens Want To Get Evans More Involved

The veteran receiver had one big catch in the win over San Francisco.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 at 10:48 am | Categories: Garrett Downing

Lee Evans had just one catch in the Ravens 16-6 victory over San Francisco, but it could not have come at a better time.

The Ravens were facing third-and-seven from their own 38-yard line, and quarterback Joe Flacco hit Evans on a slant across on the middle of the field.  Evans caught the pass about a yard short of the first-down marker, but lowered his shoulder and fought for an extra two yards.

The play kept the drive alive and Baltimore scored the game-winning touchdown 10 plays later.

It was Evans’ first catch since returning to the lineup after missing seven games with an ankle injury.

“It had been a long time,” Evans said. “You never forget what it feels like, but it feels good to get one.”

Evans has been used sparingly in two games since returning to action, getting in primarily on long-yardage situations when three receivers are on the field. In the two receiver sets, the Ravens have opted to go with Anquan Boldin and rookie Torrey Smith.

Moving forward, the Ravens want to find more ways to get Evans involved in the offense.

“Lee is a guy we want to work in more and more,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “I think we can continue to work him into the two-receiver packages and rotate him with Torrey and Anquan; give those guys a break.”

Evans’ production has been limited the last two weeks against Cincinnati and San Francisco, but most important was that he came out of both games healthy.

Earlier in the season, Evans played through the injury, but was hobbled. The Ravens then decided after Week 2 that he needed the time to heal and sat him down for the next seven games.

Now that he’s back in the mix, Evans said he has not suffered any setbacks.

“I feel good,” Evans said after Thursday’s game. “It’s all about progression now and moving forward.”

Evans’ eighth season, his first with the Ravens, has been a struggle. The Ravens acquired him in the offseason from the Buffalo Bills for a fourth-round pick, hoping that he would be the deep-threat the offense has needed in recent seasons.

But Evans has missed significant time for the first time in his career, and has just three catches for 53 yards on the season.

With the Ravens in first place in the AFC North and in the middle of a playoff run, Evans is focused on making his presence felt in the back half of the season. 

“Everything else is behind us,” Evans said. “My situation of being hurt is behind me and I’m moving forward.”

A challenge with getting Evans worked more into the offense is deciding who comes off the field.

Smith has emerged as the team’s primary deep threat and second-year tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson have also developed into go-to options, and two of Flacco’s primary targets on third downs.

In running situations, the Ravens love to have Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach on the field to clear running lanes for Ray Rice.

To get Evans on the field, one of those players has to come over to the sidelines.

“There’s a mix of guys that we’ve got to kind of work in there,” Harbaugh said. “But that’s a good problem to have.”

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