While the NFL continues to investigate the San Diego Chargers for possibly using Stickum -- an adhesive that, when applied to a receiver's gloves, can help the player hold onto the football -- the Ravens are demonstrating that they need no such aid.
After dropping 37 passes last season which ranked as the seventh most in the league, the team's receivers have dropped just eight passes thus far, which is tied with the Minnesota Vikings for the fewest in the league. The numbers were compiled by STATS LLC.
The numbers were new to wide receiver Torrey Smith, who chalked it up to a matter of concentration.
"That's our job, to catch the ball. It's really that simple," he said. "We just want to go out there and make the play when it comes our way and try to make the tough catches. I guess we've been doing a good job of hanging onto the ball, which is always a great thing when you're a receiver or tight end."
According to Pro Football Focus, Smith and running back Ray Rice lead the team with two dropped passes each, while wide receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Dennis Pitta have dropped one ball each. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones has yet to drop a pass.
Tight end Ed Dickson, who has dropped one pass, said no receiver enjoys missing an opportunity to make a play, but the key is to re-focus quickly for the next snap.
"Dropped balls are a part of the game," he said. "You can't be perfect. Nobody's perfect. That's an emphasis, and we've been focusing in on those little things. We try to catch every ball that we can, but if you have a drop, get over it, and that's one thing that our coaches wanted us to do, and we're doing a great job this year."
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens' opponent this Sunday, has dropped 22 passes, which is tied with the Detroit Lions for the league lead in that category.
Wide receiver Greg Little has dropped five balls, tight end Owen Marecic four and rookie running back Trent Richardson three. But Ravens cornerback Cary Williams said the Browns could change their fortunes Sunday.
"It's an opportunity, but you can't look for them to drop the ball," Williams said. "You've got to go out there and make plays and play hard-nosed football each and every snap. Whenever you get an opportunity, you've got to make the best of them, and if they happen to have a mental lapse or take their hands off the ball and don't catch it, then I want to be there to make a play on the ball as best as I know how."