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A Position Of Strength


Word came down from the Castle yesterday afternoon that the Ravens had brought in veteran Wide Receiver David Tyree for a workout and physical. Although there was no word on a signing it can be safe to assume that if Ozzie put Tyree through the rigors of a Ravens tryout and a subsequent physical, legitimate negotiations have begun in earnest.

If Tyree signs and decides to become a Raven, it will undoubtedly improve the team as a unit. Keeping only four Wide Receivers seemed to many as a suspicious move, especially given the shaky (at best) history of two of the four receivers on the roster. Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams have top flight potential, but both have been consistently sidelined (or limited in Clayton’s case) by injuries the past few seasons. I like what I’ve seen so far out of late bloomer Kelly Washington, but relying on he and Derrick Mason to carry the load for 17+ weeks of an NFL season is probably not realistic. Having a safety net behind the front core will clearly make the Ravens’ offense more potent.

However, that being said, if Tyree decides against signing with Baltimore (in favor of Kansas City for example) I will not be like so many other critics and jump all over the Ravens for having a lackluster group of Receivers. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, I have nothing but the utmost confidence in the players we currently have on the roster.

All offseason you’ve heard the same song and dance. The Ravens will never ascend to the next level without a top-flight Receiver. From Anquon Boldin to Brandon Marshall, this merry-go-round has dragged on and on. I’m going to make a bold prediction here: The Ravens are legitimate contenders with or without a big name vertical threat.

You may ask yourself how I can feel so confident in this prediction. It’s very simple, because of Drew Brees.

Brees came within a handful of yards of breaking Dan Marino’s all time single season passing record last year. He threw for 5,069 yards and 34 touchdowns using only Lance Moore (5-9 190lbs. Toledo), Devrey Henderson (5-11 200lbs. Louisiana State), and Marques Colston (6-4 225lbs. Hofstra).

There is no doubt that all of these Wide Outs are solid players. They wouldn’t be in the NFL otherwise. Not one of them however, is any more spectacular of a receiving threat than what most other NFL teams currently have on their rosters.

The point I’m trying to make here is that Receivers are only as good as the Quarterback who is throwing the ball, and the Offensive Line who is giving said Quarterback time to make the play. Only one Quarterback in the league who played a full complement of 16 games in 2008, was sacked fewer times than Drew Brees, and that was Jay Cutler (4,526 yrds/25 Tds).

An elite Quarterback in this league with an above average Offensive Line will find a way to get the ball to his receivers. Of course the receiver has to catch the pass when it’s thrown his way, but if you’re starting in the NFL odds are you can catch the ball fairly consistently (which is why Justin Harper is on the practice squad and Kelly Washington is suiting up on Sunday).

Would I love to have a talent like Boldin or Marshall on this team? Of course I would, who wouldn’t? But I’m not going to sit back and sell the farm because we don’t have a tall vertical threat. I have confidence in Cam, I have confidence in Bazooka Joe Flacco, and above all else, I have confidence in Jared Gaither, Michael Oher, and Matt Birk. If they do their jobs, then Mason, Clayton, Williams, Washington, and even David Tyree, will do theirs, I guarantee it.

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