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Ravens: Challengers for No. 2 receiver job likely to end up sharing playing time

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones catches balls thrown by a machine during a Baltimore Ravens training camp practice at the team's Owings Mills facility Thursday.
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones catches balls thrown by a machine during a Baltimore Ravens training camp practice at the team's Owings Mills facility Thursday. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

OWINGS MILLS - Each member of the competition brings his own unique skill set to the table.
Jacoby Jones has the speed and, as anyone who watched the Ravens during the playoffs knows, the capability to produce a game-changing play at any moment.
Tandon Doss is the refined route runner with good size and arguably the best hands on Baltimore's roster.
And Deonte Thompson is maybe the fastest player on the Ravens' roster as well as a "gifted" route runner, as described by offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.
In essence, Jones, Doss and Thompson are all competing for the starting wide receiver job vacated by Anquan Boldin.
But, regardless who ends up starting, all three have skill sets that Baltimore appears to want to incorporate into the offense this season.
"More so this year, it's going to be more of a rotation based on plays and the situation in a game," Doss said Friday. "But we all can play. We've got a talented group, and we all bring something different [to the table]."
Through the first two days of training camp, each of the three has been part of a constant rotation that has given all three significant reps with the first-time offense.
David Reed has been part of that rotation as well.
"That's exactly the plan," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We're rotating those guys by period usually, and we're giving them all a chance to work with the first group and work with Joe [Flacco]."
For now, Jones is considered the starter opposite No. 1 receiver Torrey Smith.
He's the veteran of the group, the one with the most experience, and the one who played such a big role in the Ravens' run to a Super Bowl title last season.
Many view him as a relatively one-dimensional deep threat, but he did start 11 games for the Houston Texans in 2011 and, once again, he provides the offense with a big-play weapon capable of breaking off a big play at any moment.
But Doss has been one of the standouts through the offseason and beginning part of training camp.
The 2011 fourth round pick has just seven catches through his first two NFL seasons, but he shined during organized team activities, continued to do well during minicamp last month and has earned good reviews for the most part through the first two days of training camp.
"Tandon, to me, has looked good," Harbaugh said. "He made a number of nice plays down here in the competitive third-down period at the end [today].
"It's a tough, long practice. We take a lot of reps. He had a lot of balls thrown to him, so there were a couple in there - I remember a couple drops - but I sure remember a lot of catches. He looks fast to me. He looks more explosive than he's probably ever looked before."
Thompson hasn't stood out as much as Doss through the early part of training camp, but he's a second-year player who showed flashes of his potential at this time last year and one who several high-ranking members of the organization have said throughout the past several months has a chance to be an impact player for the Ravens this season.
And Reed is in the mix for playing time, too.
How each player fits into the offense will become clearer as training camp and the preseason plays out. But, once again, the expectation, at least through the second day of training camp, is that Jones, Doss and Thompson - and possibly even Reed - will all have roles in the offense this year regardless of who ends up winning the starting job opposite Smith.
"We've got a lot of weapons," Thompson said. "And we've got a great offensive coordinator, and he's going to find a way to get his weapons on the field. So at the end of the day, we're going to come out here and compete every day [for the starting job], but we all know we're going to play this year."

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