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Tandon Doss says he's quicker, stronger, ready for increased role

The fly pattern run out of town by veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin via a trade to the San Francisco 49ers created an instant void at wide receiver for the Ravens.

One of the top candidates for a bigger role is Tandon Doss, the Ravens' 2011 fourth-round draft pick from Indiana.

Doss is expected to compete for playing time behind Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, and he could wind up as the third receiver. How Doss performs in a competition with LaQuan Williams, David Reed, Deonte Thompson and Aaron Mellette, among others, will determine his playing time this fall.

Plus, the Ravens have made it clear that they're also open to possibly signing a veteran receiver into the mix before the regular season.

"At the end of the day, what I want to do is contribute as much as possible," Doss said. "My dream is to be a starting receiver in the NFL. You never know what they're looking for. In my position, it's all a business and they're going to make the best business decision.

"There's likely going to be at least one vet picked up for camp, but I can only focus on what I do day in and day out and put my best foot forward. I'm going to do keep doing everything I'm doing."

In his second NFL season last year, the former All-Big Ten Conference wide receiver caught a career-high seven passes for 123 yards and his first NFL touchdown. He had a career-long 39-yard reception against the Cleveland Browns.

Doss expects more from himself, though, after a collegiate career where he finished with 154 receptions or 1,854 yards and 13 touchdowns and 3,786 all-purpose yards.

"I love competing," Doss said. "Right now, it's all about getting that chance and opportunity and making the most of it. I can work inside or outside. It's about getting that confidence because I'm used to not coming out of the game and playing in every game. You come in here with high expectations.

"Not many people get to start right off the bat unless they're a first-round or second-round draft pick. I've been blessed to be around veteran players like Anquan and it helps me out a lot. I think I'm ready to fill in that spot."

However, Doss missed the final two games of the regular season with an ankle injury after being hampered by a hamstring problem during training camp.

"I've worked hard on my durability," Doss said. "I'm completely healthy now, and I plan on staying that way."

And Doss was disappointed when he was unable to haul in a pair of potential touchdown passes during a 24-9 AFC wild-card playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

The 6-foot-2 Indianapolis native said he's up to 210 pounds and has improved his quickness. Doss' strengths are his hands and route running.

"I'm quick and strong and I've got the speed and can outsmart the linebackers, use my quickness and be able to catch the ball," Doss said. "I've always been one of the strongest receivers, just not the widest. I've got a little strength on me. I feel fast and quick. I've put on weight too fast in the past, but now I put it on slow and I've been maintaining my speed and quickness."

Doss said he doesn't exactly know where he stands in terms of the pecking order at receiver, but he anticipates a long look at training camp and an opportunity to show what he can do.

"They never tell us anyything," Doss said. "Maybe once we get into camp and close to the preseason games I'll know more. We'll see during camp. You never know what they're looking for. They might want something different from the third receiver, or I could be just what they're lookin for. I can't wait for camp to start."

awilson@baltsun.com

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