Late For Work 6/25: Something’s Different About Tandon Doss

Bengals fans say Ravens least-hated rival, Flacco under pressure, why is Lewis on jerk list?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 9:07 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Something’s Different About Tandon Doss

There’s something different about second-year receiver Tandon Doss.

The 2011 fourth-round draft pick has built a reputation for having some of the most reliable hands on the roster, but sure hands are useless if you can’t get open.

When Doss first arrived on the Baltimore scene, he was only a year removed from surgery to repair a double sports hernia. He wasn’t “particularly explosive” and “struggled to separate from fast cornerbacks,” according to The Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson.

But after watching Doss this offseason, Wilson says the young receiver appears to have regained his speed and ability to get open.

“What was different from a year ago when he was an unproductive rookie is how Doss rapidly accelerated after the catch, aggressively picking up yards and leaving defensive backs trailing behind him,” Wilson wrote.

“The hesitation that was obvious in Doss’ game last year has vanished.”

Doss admitted to playing slower last year, not only because he felt restricted by scar tissue left by the surgery, but because he was learning the Ravens’ offensive system for the first time.

“I’m a lot more confident than last year,” Doss said. “I played a little bit slower then. Now, I know the offense more and I can play without worrying about what I have to do. I’m very confident now.”

The 6-foot-2 receiver has managed to increase his speed even while putting on 10 pounds, mainly bulking up his upper body.   

Doss didn’t record a single catch last season as he frequently found himself on the inactive list. That’s something he hopes to change despite the deep-seeded competition at the receiver spot with Jacoby Jones as the favorite to be the No. 3, plus LaQuan Williams and David Reed fighting for playing time.

Doss knows what he’s capable of – he was named All-Big Ten Conference when he caught 77 passes for 962 yards and five touchdowns two seasons before his double hernia – he just needs to prove it this summer.

Doss practiced during Organized Team Activities (OTAs), but sat out minicamp for undisclosed reasons.

“Training camp is where I need to earn that position,” Doss told Wilson. “I’m going to try to set myself up and do what I need to do to get out there.

“I came here to play. I don’t want to sit behind anybody.”

Bengals Fans: Ravens Least-Hated AFC North Rival

You can’t go as far as saying Bengals fans like the Ravens.

But when having to choose between the three division rivals, Baltimore is the least hated.

According to a Cincy Jungle fan poll, Bengals fans by far hate the Steelers the most, followed by the Browns and Ravens.

The Browns barely edged Baltimore by five votes, even with an intense history that included Bengals/Browns founder Paul Brown swearing revenge on Cleveland after Art Modell relieved him of his duties. Brown created a new team close to the former one and adopted similar colors.

The reason to hate the Ravens?

“What rubs Bengals fans the wrong way about the purple and black is their cockiness and ‘swagger,’” wrote Cincy Jungle blogger Anthony Cosenza. “The Ravens are one of the mouthiest teams in the NFL, led by Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and even Joe Flacco. They back up their talk more often than not with their physicality, and constantly play with a chip on their shoulders.”

But just like in Charm City, the Steelers are easily the most-hated in Cincinnati. They topped the hate list with 76 percent of the nearly 2,000 votes (as of this morning).

“Aside from the obnoxiousness that their fans bring to nearly every NFL stadium around the country, the team itself brings Bengals fans to shake their fists to the heavens,” Cosenza wrote. “Not only have the Bengals been wildly unsuccessful against Pittsburgh, but the team and then-quarterback Carson Palmer had to suffer through a cheap shot, an unfortunate injury sustained in Cincinnati’s first playoff game in 15 years.”

“Obnoxious.” That’s a perfect word.

Ravens Have Least Cap Space In NFL

We knew the Ravens had little wiggle room under the cap, but it turns out they have the least of all 32 teams.

Baltimore has $606,000 left to spend, as of Friday, and is the only team to have less than a million. Twelve teams have more than $10 million to spend.

As expected, AFC North rivals Cleveland and Cincinnati have plenty of cash (each with more than $16 million), but probably won’t spend it. The Steelers have the seventh-least amount of money with $3.6 million.

As’s Mike Florio points out, if the Ravens really needed cash, they could get it.

“[T]he Ravens could easily clear cap room, if they really want to,” he wrote. “Rice’s cap number of $7.7 million would likely go down if he signs a multi-year deal, and cap space can be conjured to sign Flacco by extending/reworking other contracts.”

Under Pressure: Joe Flacco

LeBron James was arguably the player in all of sports under the most pressure to win a championship.

After beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games last week, LeBron can take the monkey of his back.

So ESPN’s Tim Hasselbeck ranked his top-five NFL players with the most pressure to win a title.

Ranked fourth on the list is Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Watch the video to find out why.

The five with the most pressure are all quarterbacks (from least to most): the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez, Flacco, Cowboys’ Tony Romo, Bears’ Jay Cutler and Chargers’ Philip Rivers.

Ray Lewis Honorable Mention On Jerk List

I’m heading into my eighth season with Ravens, so I’ve been able to observe Lewis and how he is viewed throughout the organization for a while. The last word I would use to describe the linebacker is “jerk.”

Jerks don’t inspire locker rooms the way Lewis does. Jerks aren’t respected and honored around the league. Coaches don’t praise jerks and ask them to lead their team when they’re not around. Jerks don’t give back to the community the way Lewis does.

Still,’s Mike Freeman listed Ray as an honorable mention for his biggest jerks list. No explanation was given.

The only other AFC North name to make the list: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The reasoning on Roethlisberger: “Two sexual assault allegations (no convictions) but a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy,” Freeman wrote. “A well-earned jerk ranking.”

Harbaugh’s Time To Shine

With all the offseason craziness in Baltimore this offseason – Ricky Williams unexpectedly retiring, losing Ben Grubbs, Cory Redding and Jarret Johnson to free agency, looming contract negotiations with Ray Rice and Flacco, Ed Reed missing mandatory camp, and Terrell Suggs’ Achilles tendon injury – Head Coach John Harbaugh may be facing the biggest coaching challenge of his career.

“[T]his is hardly a make-or-break year for Harbaugh,” ESPN’s Jamison Hensley wrote. “There’s no panic button to be pressed. But he does face a challenge unlike any before in his Ravens tenure.

This is Harbaugh’s time to shine. This is his moment to shake the underrated label. Harbaugh would probably acknowledge he hasn’t had to be as heavy-handed the past couple of years because he has strong leaders in place in the locker room with Ray Lewis, Reed and Anquan Boldin. But, when the waters become rough, he’s got to be the captain of the ship. He has to make sure the distractions are pushed to the side and focus remains the challenges presented by the NFL’s fourth-toughest schedule this season.”

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