Late For Work 12/23: Report: No Plans To Add Mason Right Now

How much will Boldin be missed? Graham will kick; Texans help Ravens; Week 16 picks.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, December 23rd, 2011 at 9:15 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Report: No Plans To Add Mason Right Now

Minutes after the Ravens announced that their top receiver Anquan Boldin will miss at least two weeks with a slight tear in his meniscus, fans started asking whether it would be a smart move to bring back Derrick Mason.

They even created a poll on The Flock message boards, with 45 percent saying they think Mason should be re-signed.

After all, Mason was recently released by the Houston Texans, so he’s available, and he is the Ravens’ all-time leading receiver. Mason and Joe Flacco created a strong rapport during the quarterback’s first three years in the league and the 37-year-old receiver is familiar with the offense.

But several reporters, including The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson and MASN’s Dan Kolko, say the Ravens are not planning on adding Mason, or any other receiver for that matter.

“Being that he’s currently out of work and still believes he can play at a high level, I have a feeling Mason would be receptive to an offer from the Ravens, but one has not come to this point,” wrote Kolko.

That [plan] could change depending on Saturday’s result,” wrote Zrebiec.

For now, the Ravens will look to the current stable of receivers to fill Boldin’s shoes, said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.

“That’s something that you want to get your young guys out there on the field as much as you can but you don’t want to do it before they’re ready to have some success,” Harbaugh said. “I think those guys are very much ready to have some success between LaQuan [Williams] and Tandon [Doss], the tight ends probably play a role in that as well.

“It will be very interesting to see how they do, but we anticipate them playing real well.”

How Much Will Ravens Miss Boldin?

“Ravens really won’t miss Anquan Boldin.” That was an ESPN title from Jamison Hensley’s blog yesterday.

Boldin will be missed,” wrote CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg.

Well, there you have it. Two respected voices disagree on the topic, so the truth is probably somewhere in middle.

The Ravens will miss Boldin, but are confident they can win without him considering the talent that is ready to step up – Lee Evans, Torrey Smith, Williams, Doss and David Reed.

Even though Boldin is the Ravens’ leading receiver and was on pace to accumulate 1,000 receiving yards this season (57 catches for 887 yards and three touchdowns), Hensley doesn’t believe his production has been all that impactful.

“While it would be a big blow for most teams to not have their leading receiver, this isn’t a major deal for the Ravens,” wrote Hensley. “Boldin hasn’t developed into the go-to receiver for Joe Flacco that Baltimore envisioned when they traded for him. Over the past two seasons, Flacco has never developed the same rapport that he had with Derrick Mason in his first three seasons in the NFL. … His 57 receptions and three touchdowns are his fewest since 2004.”

But Eisenberg thinks 1,000 receiving yards is a big deal, and says the offense will also miss Bodlin’s blocking ability and leadership. The columnist believes he is the Ravens “most dependable receiver.”

Boldin’s teammate sums up the situation best.

“It’s a big loss for us,” Smith said. “Anquan’s our leader. We’re definitely going to miss him out there on the field as a player. But for us, we’ve got to step up. It’s too important for us to play well right now (and) not have any letdowns. The whole team is depending on us to play well and we’ve got to go out there and do it.

“We’ll be fine. It’s the NFL. It’s the next man up. We’re going to miss ‘Q’ more than anybody, especially me. That’s the guy who I look up to the most on the field.”

Graham To Kick Saturday; Cundiff Will Be Missed

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed that newly-acquired Shayne Graham will handle the kickoff duties against the Browns.

Billy Cundiff has missed practice all week with a left calf injury.

Unlike in Boldin’s case, Hensley believes the absence of the Ravens’ Pro Bowl kicker will have a big impact, especially come playoff time.

“The Ravens had to make contingency plans after Cundiff missed a 36-yard field goal Sunday, his ninth failed attempt of the season,” wrote Hensley. “But Baltimore had better hope Cundiff is healthy enough to kick in the playoffs. Graham missed both of his field goals, including a 28-yarder, in a playoff loss two years ago. That’s a major reason why the Bengals didn’t re-sign him.”

Week 16 Browns-Ravens Picks

All 34 analysts below believe the Ravens will be victorious tomorrow, Christmas Eve, against the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns.

“Not a good week to be visiting M&T Bank Stadium with a second-tier team,” wrote The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. “Somebody’s going to have to pay for what happened on Sunday night.”

Baltimore Sun: Seven of seven pick the Ravens
ESPN: Eight of eight pick the Ravens
SI.com’s Peter King: Ravens 30, Browns 9
USA Today: Eight of eight pick the Ravens
Yahoo! Sports: Three of three pick the Ravens
PFT.com: Two of two pick the Ravens
CBSSports.com: Five of five pick the Ravens

Texans Lost Home-Field, Losing Playoff Momentum

The Patriots, Steelers and Texans have been the Ravens’ biggest threat for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

But the Texans, who were in possession of the top seed in the AFC just a few weeks ago, are taking themselves out of the equation after back-to-back losses, including last night against the Colts, who entered the game with a 1-13 record.

Colts receiver Reggie Wayne caught a 1-yard touchdown pass that gave his team a shocking and dramatic 19-16 win over the AFC South champion.

“The Texans are losing everything,” wrote CBSSports.com’s Gregg Doyel. “The game, the battle, the war, the momentum, the season. It’s fading for the Texans, fading fast, now that they’ve lost the inside track at a first-round bye thanks to two losses in five days.”

The Texans have already clinched a playoff spot, but considering their current streak, playoff opponents may feel fine about drawing a matchup.

“The Texans are looking like the AFC’s third seed in the playoffs, which would mean a first-round game at home against the sixth and final seed,” added Doyel. “On the surface that sounds like a winnable game. In reality, if the Texans can’t beat the 4-9 Panthers at home Sunday, and if they can’t beat the 1-13 Colts on the road Thursday, odds aren’t good that they can beat anybody, anywhere, in a playoff game.”

Quick Hits

  • Vonta Leach carried on his tradition from Houston of dressing up as Santa Claus around the holidays. Ray Rice asked his Twitter followers last night where he could buy a suit, and apparently he found one. Leach wore the costume into the team meeting this morning. ”Everyone meet @vleach44 aka Vonta Claus,” @RayRice27 tweeted this morning.
  • Ravens know how important it is to give back and serve as role models,. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano hopes rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith comes down with case of amnesia. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis has joined three other former players to file a federal lawsuit against the NFL, saying the league knew as early as the 1920s of the potential for concussions to harm its players. Lewis and the former players say they are left struggling with medical issues including memory loss, headaches and sleeplessness. Says the NFL, “Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league’s actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions.” [ESPN]

 

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