Tight end Nick Boyle understands that his most prominent role on the Ravens is his ability to block, either opening up holes for the running backs or giving quarterback Joe Flacco a clean pocket. After all, the team has Dennis Pitta and Darren Waller to run routes and catch passes.
So Boyle acknowledged that it was "kind of like a treat" to be on the field for several passing plays and catch a pair of balls for 24 yards in Sunday's 38-6 rout of the Miami Dolphins.
"It's exciting," he said after Thursday's practice. "I've told people that I like run-blocking just as much as I like catching a ball. It feels really good when you have a really good block that springs a big play, but it also feels nice to go down the field and catch a couple balls. It's a little more recognizable for the crowd and everything. But it's a good feeling to try to be well-rounded so that I can do everything."
A second-year pro out of Delaware, Boyle recently returned from a 10-game suspension for his second violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. After playing in 20 of 68 snaps in a 19-14 win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 27, he was on the field for 28 of 72 plays against Miami.
But Boyle conceded that contributing to Flacco's 381-yard, four-touchdown performance was the furthest thing from his mind.
"I wasn't really expecting anything," he said. "It's just kind of an in-game situation where they called a hurry-up play and you're out there and you go do your assignment. I think I showed last season that I'm a receiving tight end as well as a blocking tight end. But it felt great. Not even that I was thinking about getting my first catch or whatever, but the thing is, whatever the play is, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."