SNOW

Mike Preston: Ravens got better with Jeremy Maclin signing

The Ravens made a good move by signing veteran receiver Jeremy Maclin to a two-year contract Monday.  He isn’t in the same class as Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown or Cincinnati’s A.J. Green, but he is the complete, capable receiver the Ravens were missing. He is a playmaker.

The Ravens already had speed in receivers Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman and Chris Moore, but they needed a receiver who could run any route, go across the middle and find ways to get open.

Maclin is a good fit.

He had just 44 catches for 536 yards and two touchdowns playing in 12 games last season after missing four games with groin injuries.

That injury doesn’t bother me. He has a proven record over eight seasons with 474 catches for 6,395 yards and 46 touchdowns. If he were in the over-30 club, I’d be concerned, but Maclin is 29. He has played in 102 career games, starting 100. That’s impressive.

The addition of Maclin gives the Ravens depth and a good mixture of youth and experience. Maclin is a veteran like Mike Wallace, but the Ravens have young receivers Perriman, Michael Campanaro and Moore. Perriman has played well so far in OTAs.

Plus, it will be interesting to see how quarterback Joe Flacco plays this season. He doesn’t have his safety valve or check-down receivers anymore because fullback Kyle Juszczyk and tight end Dennis Pitta are no longer on the roster.

I’m not advocating that the Ravens turn Flacco loose and have him throw the ball 35 to 40 times a game, but maybe now he’ll go downfield more. That wiill force teams to back off the line of scrimmage and open up the field.

With the addition of Maclin, the Ravens appear to have gotten better since last season. They’ve made moves on defense with the free-agent additions of safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr, and they went heavy in the draft on young defensive talent, including cornerback Marlon Humphrey and linebackers Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser.

Maclin fills a big hole on offense, and now general manger Ozzie Newsome has to find a right offensive tackle and center before the start of training camp in late July.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/@MikePrestonSun

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
30°