By Matt Vensel
8:00 AM EST, November 29, 2011
Lee Evans was active for a second consecutive game in last week’s 16-6 win over the 49ers, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Evans will get more work in two-receiver sets alongside Anquan Boldin or Torrey Smith.
That has nothing to do with how Boldin and Smith have performed, though. Boldin leads the Ravens with 48 catches for 747 yards and three touchdowns and Smith has caught 31 passes for 613 yards and a team-high five touchdowns. Harbaugh said Evans will see more playing time so he can keep Boldin and Smith fresh.
“Lee’s a guy that we want to work in more and more,” Harbaugh said Monday. “We like playing both the tight ends, too, so there’s a mix of guys that we’ve got to work in there, but that’s a good problem to have.”
The Ravens have certainly upgraded in terms of speed and skill at the wide receiver and tight end positions over the past two offseasons, and with Evans back from an ankle injury, the offense could hit another gear.
With Evans, who has been working mostly in three-receiver sets, back in the mix, the Ravens should be very dangerous when they trot out three wideouts and tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta (or instead running back Ray Rice and one of the tight ends). With Smith and Evans streaking down the sidelines, the middle of the field should open up for Boldin -- who is tough to cover working out of the slot -- and Rice or the tight ends.
“This is not a knock on who was here before, but the speed we’ve added makes a difference on how teams play us,” quarterback Joe Flacco said recently. “If you look at the film from the last couple of years and compare it to now, it’s clear. Defenders can’t sit on routes as much. They have to back off from Torrey and Lee. At the same time, our tight ends are good and they can run. That means defenses can key less on Ray.”
Evans hauled in his first reception in more than two months on the go-ahead touchdown drive in Thursday’s win. The third-down reception was his only catch of the game, but Harbaugh said that more are on the way.
“Obviously, he’s a good downfield threat. But as you saw on that third-down play, he’s not just that,” Harbaugh said. “That was a heck of a catch me coming across [the field] and then he lowered his shoulder and made a guy miss a tackle and got the first down. So I’ve got to think he’s only going to get better as we go forward here.”
Ditto for the Ravens, who now have two burners to stretch opposing defenses on either side of the field.
Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun