Since trading former Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers following a contract dispute, the Ravens haven't pursued an experienced replacement.
That's partially by design.
Although general manager Ozzie Newsome has said the Super Bowl champions could add a veteran receiver at some point between now and the start of the regular season, he also wants to evaluate the current receivers on the roster before making such a move.
And the returning receivers, a group led by former University of Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith, have made it a personal goal to try to convince Newsome that he doesn't need to acquire another receiver.
"I think that obviously our goal is to try to make sure that Ozzie doesn't have to go out there and get another vet and I think we take that as kind of a challenge for us," Smith, who caught 49 passes for 855 yards and eight touchdowns last season, told The Baltimore Sun. "We know this offense. We're looking forward to the challenge. We're all getting better every day. None of that matters if we don't do it between the lines, but I think we're heading on the right path. [Wide receivers coach Jim Hostler] is doing a great job with us."
Besides Smith, the Ravens are looking to Pro Bowl kick returner Jacoby Jones, who caught 30 passes for 406 yards and one touchdown during the regular season and had key touchdown catches in the AFC divisional round and the Super Bowl.
While Jones could emerge as the second receiver opposite Smith, the Ravens are hoping someone emerges from a pack of candidates that includes Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, David Reed, LaQuan Williams and Aaron Mellette.
Doss, Thompson and Reed combined for 17 receptions for 240 yards and one touchdown last season while Boldin caught 65 passes for 921 yards and four touchdowns last season with another 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns during the postseason.
"I haven’t heard too much about all that, but I’m excited about who we have," quarterback Joe Flacco said last week when asked about the possibility of adding a veteran receiver to the mix. "I like the idea of having guys that we’ve had, we’ve drafted here or we’ve picked up here, and grooming them and getting those guys to become great wide receivers. They definitely have the talent to do it. I think we just need to get them some reps. And when I say reps, I mean game time reps, so they’re confidence can take off.
"One of the biggest things about Anquan is that he knew he was the man. So, when he went out there, he didn’t care what happened. He was the man. You don’t realize how much that helps out your play and your team’s play. And when these young guys can get to the point where they’re out there and their attitude is that, they have all the ability in the world, and I feel very confident with those guys.”
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