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With an eye on keeping Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason fresh for a possible postseason run, the Ravens have frequently spelled their starting wide-receiving duo by giving T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte’ Stallworth substantial playing time.

"It makes it easier," wide receivers coach Jim Hostler said of rotating Boldin and Mason with Houshmandzadeh and Stallworth. "It allows you to get some guys out of the game, especially guys who have a lot of mileage on their tires. Derrick has played for 14 years. Anquan hasn't played as long as Derrick has, but he's caught a lot of balls, and he's played a lot of football games. So there's a lot of mileage that he has been through. So you tend to want to get those guys some rest so that they're not torn down by the end of the year. And we've had this problem over the last two years. You get to the end of the season and you have Derrick and Mark [Clayton] and they're both worn out because they're the only two guys that you're throwing the ball to. And it's shown up late in the season, and it's shown up in injuries, too. So hopefully, that will help take some of the pressure off them."

Another factor is the coaching staff's trust in Houshmandzadeh and Stallworth, who have combined for 151 starts in 18 NFL seasons."These two guys have played a lot of football, and you can throw them out there, and they can play in the game despite not getting a whole lot of reps. That's a critical factor," Hostler said. "They're playing a third of the time, so they're only getting a third of the reps in practice. So they've got to be able to do things without getting reps. With young guys, you don't have that luxury. We have [rookie] David [Reed], as an example. He may be talented, but he's not going to be somebody that we're just going to throw out there and run something that he hasn't done. So those two allow you to have that kind of flexibility."

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Houshmandzadeh has caught 21 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns, while Stallworth has hauled in two passes for 82 yards. Those may not be impressive numbers, but Hostler said that pair's presence has given opposing defenses a different look.

"We don't necessarily look at them from that standpoint, although we do understand their strengths and try to take advantage of them," Hostler said. "… But defenses do because they are two different guys and they do have different strengths. So those are factors, too."

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