Baltimore Sun

Ravens receiving corps catching on at camp

Historically, the Baltimore Ravens have been synonymous with defense, but coming into this season, the team hopes to make people take notice of the offense with Jamal Lewis returning after a breakout season and a maturing young quarterback in Kyle Boller.

Though Boller finished his rookie year with a quarterback rating of 62.4, he has high hopes that the new receivers will help turn the passing game around. "The receivers are doing a good job. Talent-wise they're doing awesome," Boller said. "We're all just trying to get on the same page, and that's what these camps are all about."

In the off-season, the team signed Kevin Johnson, whose career receiving average of 12.3 yards per catch should aid an offense that finished the 2003 season last in yards per game and 21st in the league. Johnson also has experience in working with young quarterbacks – playing with Tim Couch in Cleveland and Byron Leftwich in Jacksonville.

While Johnson is used to being the featured receiver, in Baltimore that distinction has gone to fourth-year tight end Todd Heap, who led the team in receptions (57) last year. Heap is connecting better with Boller as the two found each other frequently during today's seven-on-seven drills. Heap says the goal is to "take the pressure off each other and take some pressure off Jamal, too."

Boller also seemed to have no trouble finding the familiar Travis Taylor in camp. Taylor, who rounds out the Ravens' big three in the receiving corps, has improved in each of his four years in the league. He averaged 16.2 yards per catch in 2003.

Taylor and Johnson are the elder statesmen for the receivers this year. Draft picks Devard Darling and Clarence Moore, along with undrafted free agent Cecil Moore, are seeing reps in practice but it remains to be seen who will distinguish themselves.

Ravens around the world

Three of the four Ravens playing in NFL Europe returned to the team today. Wide receiver Todd Devoe and tackle Tony Pashos completed their season with the Cologne Centurions who finished 3-6 this year. The 6-foot-2 Devoe finished the European season averaging 17.2 yards per catch and totaling 223 yards on 13 receptions.

Also returning was linebacker James Harrison who played for the Rhein Fire. Harrison made 27 tackles for the Fire, which finished the season 3-6.

Yet to return is Aubrayo Franklin, who will be playing in the World Bowl for the Frankfurt Galaxy. Franklin, a 6-foot-2 defensive tackle, has 25 tackles and three sacks for the 7-2 Galaxy.

Senior camper

Making an appearance today at camp was Hall-of-Fame running back Lenny Moore. Moore, who played from 1956-67 for the Baltimore Colts earned seven trips to the Pro Bowl. Moore ended his 12-year NFL career with 6,039 receiving yards and 5,174 rushing yards and a combined 111 touchdowns.