The days of Trent Dilfer, Brandon Stokley and a woefully inept passing game in Baltimore are gone forever, and Cam Cameron is unleashing Joe Flacco in a high-octane no-huddle offense that produced 37 points against the Cincinnati Bengals—who ranked seventh it total defense in 2011.
As ESPN’s Jon Gruden said:
"They can use a no-huddle offense with about four different personnel groupings. And from what I saw tonight, it started on the first play of the game. They were aggressive and they did not get off the gas pedal."
Flacco’s arm has always made him a talented quarterback, but this new offense allows him to keep the pressure on defenses and get the ball to wide outs like Boldin.
Flacco looked to Dennis Pitta frequently, targeting him nine times against Cincinnati. But among the wide receivers, Flacco threw to Boldin five times, more than any of his other wideouts. The 31-year-old reeled in four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.
This is Boldin’s third season in Baltimore, and he has been productive in each of the previous two years. In 2010, he caught 64 passes for 837 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2011, he had similar numbers, catching 57 passes for 887 yards and three touchdowns.
This year, with the Ravens taking the passing game more often, his numbers will increase. Boldin has the ability to be a dominant possession receiver and beat defensive backs deep on occasion.
His ability to run routes anywhere on the field will ensure that he is Flacco’s most-targeted wideout, as Torrey Smith is primarily a deep threat.
The Ravens will continue to take to the air frequently this season, and Boldin will begin to rack up receptions and yardage. His role in this new offense will allow him to return to the type of production that characterized his career in Arizona—where he eclipsed 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in every season in which he played at least 14 games.
As he draws nearer to these totals, Bodlin’s stock will continue to rise. Owners who want to be ahead of the curve should start exploring options to acquire him now.