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Late For Work 8/16: Ranking Ravens Wide Receivers

Ravens biggest obstacle to Pats going 16-0. Carr chided. Allen not relinquishing backup RB.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Thursday, August 16th, 2012 at 9:04 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ranking Ravens Wide Receivers

How good is this year’s corps of Ravens wide receivers?

“Entering the 2012 season, the Ravens may have the best group of receivers they’ve ever seen,” wrote Jason Butt.

With a stable of depth at the position, combined with the Ravens looking to implement a faster tempo with the no-huddle offense, there’s a chance the team keeps six receivers.

But only four are “locks” to make the team, says the CBSSports.com scribe.

The first three are pretty much indisputable: Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones.

Boldin had another standout performance in practice yesterday, making catches with a cornerback draped on his back. “After one of them, a Ravens PR person predicted that Boldin could be in for nice yr,” tweeted Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz.

Smith is a burner, but has added more weapons to his game and is looking to become a more complete receiver. Jones is supposed to be what Lee Evans couldn’t become last year – a speedy outside complement to Smith to help keep defenses honest.

Usually columnists say the competition gets a little murky after those first three players, but Butt is the first I’ve seen to declare second-year receiver LaQuan Williams as the “lock” at No. 4.

“Rarely has Williams dropped a pass in training camp,” wrote Butt. “Not only that, but some of the passes Williams has caught have been nothing short of outstanding. During the NFL lockout, Williams was working at a paint store and thought about enlisting in the military. Now he’s got a good chance of entering the WR rotation on Sundays.”

Now here’s where the battle gets interesting, says Butt, with one or two open spots remaining for four “bubble” players.

Tandon Doss “should make the team again” despite a hamstring injury limiting his training camp.

Doss leaves one potential spot remaining, which Butt currently gives to rookie free agent Deonte Thompson over sixth-round choice Tommy Streeter. David Reed is then projected to go on either PUP or IR.

“Thompson has made the most of each opportunity so far and has continued to receive reps, primarily with the second team,” Butt explains. “He’s got excellent speed and is a fluid route-runner. Like most rookies, he just has to work on consistency. He can contribute on special teams in both coverage and return units, and he could be an emergency return specialist.

“Streeter has yet to prove he belongs on the roster. Yet, at 6-feet-5, 220 pounds, he has ideal size as a wideout. He also has blazing straight-ahead speed. Coach John Harbaugh has described Streeter as a project, and his potential could be too much to risk placing [him] on the practice squad.”

Lock No. 1: Anquan Boldin
Lock No. 2: Torrey Smith
Lock No. 3: Jacoby Jones
Lock No. 4: LaQuan Williams
Bubble No. 5: Tandon Doss
Bubble No. 6: Deonte Thompson
Bubble No. 7: Tommy Streeter
Bubble No. 8: David Reed

Pats To Go 16-0? Not If Ravens Have Anything To Say About It

Last month, CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco made a bolddddd prediction: the New England Patriots will have a perfect 16-0 record in 2012.

Turns out, ESPN AFC East blogger James Walker saw Prisco at a Miami Dolphins practice this week and challenged the columnist’s projection.

“Point out a game they’re expected to lose,” Prisco responded to Walker.

So he did.

And the No. 1 team on his list to beat the Patriots? The Baltimore Ravens, of course, with a 60 percent chance of beating the Pats in an AFC championship rematch.

“Yes, the Ravens won’t have reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs, who is out with an Achilles injury, ” Walker wrote. “But I can tell you from experience that Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium is one of the NFL’s toughest venues for road teams. The Patriots will need their “A” game to beat the Ravens in their home stadium.

“This may end up being the toughest game on New England’s schedule.”

Below is a list of all the teams Walker thinks could beat New England, and their percent chance of doing so:

  • Pats at Ravens: 60 percent chance of winning
  • Pats at Bills: 40 percent chance of winning
  • Texans at Pats: 40 percent chance of winning
  • Broncos at Pats: 30 percent chance of winning
  • Pats at Jets: 30 percent chance of winning
  • 49ers at Pats: 30 percent chance of winning

Carr Reminded About Value Of Punter

Undrafted rookie linebacker Nigel Carr is trying to make this Ravens roster.

He knows he has to prove his worth on special teams if he’s going to get that chance, so he’s going all-out on every play.

But he may have gone overboard in Tuesday’s practice when he rushed from the left side of the defensive line to attempt to block a Sam Koch punt.  

“Immediately afterward, [Special Teams Coordinator Jerry] Rosburg grabbed Carr and spoke to him for an extended period of time,” wrote Edward Lee.

Carr confirmed that Rosburg gave him a little talk about the value of the punter.

“He told me, ‘Don’t injure the kicker,’” Carr told Lee. “But that’s part of it. As a rookie, you try to do everything right. Even on the scout team, you know that everything counts. I just told him, ‘Yes, sir, won’t happen again.’ And I moved on with my practice.

“If they see you doing that on scout team, they’ll know you really want to be here and that you really want to be on the team. A person in my position, an undrafted guy, it’s going to be hard to make this 53-man roster. So I have to do everything right. It’s not as much the defense right now. It’s more about special teams, going out there and really being perfect on special teams. That’s what’s going to put my foot in the door.”

Allen, Berry Not Relinquishing Backup RB Role

Right now, analysts’ popular picks for the No. 2 and 3 running back spots are third-round pick Bernard Pierce and rookie free agent Bobby Rainey, respectively.

In the preseason opener in Atlanta, Allen gained just 9 yards on five carries and Berry gained 17 yards on seven. Meanwhile, Rainey put together one of the best performances of the night, churning out 143 all-purpose yards.

“Allen understands that his grip as the first tailback behind Rice on the team’s depth chart could be loosening,” Lee wrote.

But the second-year back isn’t giving up.

“Being a competitor, that’s the type of thing you want to see,” Allen said of battle to backup Rice. “You don’t want it to be given to you. You want to have to come out here and work because it’s going to make you better. So I think having guys like Bernard and Bobby and Damien Berry makes me try to step up my game every time I come out here on the practice field. Every time I’m in a game, every time I walk into the meeting room, every time I’m trying to study, I have to do better.”

Quick Hits

  • @CSteele32: Great pic of the #Ravens @Navyathletics practice, taken by @RDPhotoOP. @raylewis52com @pkruger99 @Artj97 @TwentyER [Twitter]
  • Bernard Pollard, who’s known to enjoy laying a hit or two on opponents, loved having a little fight in practice yesterday. … @Crushboy31: Today was the best day by far this camp!!! [Twitter]
  • @GerrySandusky: Great moment at end of Ravens practice. Ray Lewis and Sherman Cypress, make-a-wish recipient. Dream come true. [Twitter]
  • In case you missed the video footage, it’s a must-see … @TorreySmithWR: shoutouts to @MichaelOher for catching that punt today…thanks bro haha [BaltimoreRavens.com/Twitter]
  • @jtuck9 [Justin Tucker]: Big thanks to outstanding punt returners @TheRealMtCody and @MichaelOher. Got to see The Campaign tonight after a little practice film [Twitter]
  • @BryantMckinnie: Currently getting a massage, gotta make sure the body is feeling right.
  • Steelers linebacker James Harrison underwent left knee surgery on Wednesday, clouding his chances of returning in time for the start of the regular season. [Associated Press]
  • Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick was at the practice in Owings Mills, Md. yesterday as the FOX crew gets ready to broadcast Friday’s game against the Lions. Billick met up with Nestor Aparicio to discuss some of the keys for the Ravens this season. [WNST]
  • Is the Ravens secondary the best in NFL? Brad Jackson discusses. [CSNBaltimore.com]

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