Baltimore Ravens: Receiving Problems

Rob Marine@rjmarineContributor IDecember 21, 2011

Baltimore Ravens: Receiving Problems

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    After Sunday night's loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Baltimore Ravens fall to 10-4 on the season and forfeited the right to control their own playoff destiny.

    There are greater problems for the Ravens as they enter the postseason.

    We all know they have a great running back in Ray Rice who has fullback Vonta Leach as his personal battering ram. While the verdict is still out on whether or not Joe Flacco is a top-notch quarterback, we need to turn our attention to a greater weakness plaguing the Baltimore Ravens.

    The Ravens offensive line can be suspect at times, but the main area of concern is the receiving corps, specifically at the wide receiver position. Disregarding the young tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, who have been solid throughout the season, the Ravens are hurting at receiving.

    Let's take a closer look at the wide receiver position for the Ravens.

    You will see they have been playing with really only two guys all year long, neither of whom is a true No. 1 receiver. This has been a problem for them in the past and may even cost them a run at the Super Bowl as they head into the postseason.

Anquan Boldin

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    Anquan Boldin was a great addition to the Baltimore Ravens last year, and he continues to show that he can sill be a productive wide receiver at times.

    Despite the fact that Boldin has a great set of hands and can make big-time catches, he lacks the explosive step and the ability to gain separation, both of which he used to posses earlier in his career.

    Boldin is 31 years old and will turn 32 in the first half of next season.

    While Anquan is nowhere near hanging up the cleats just yet, he is no longer a true No. 1 wide receiver on any team in the NFL.

    Boldin has made a living making tough catches, using his size to snag balls over the middle of the field, and has proven he is tough as nails. However, he is on the decline in his career, and his numbers will only decrease rather than increase.

    Season Stats: 55 receptions, 836 yards, 3 touchdowns

Torrey Smith

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    Torrey Smith was drafted in the second round with the 58th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

    Smith has been an absolute sensation for Baltimore this year.

    Torrey has showed his ability to stretch the field, which has provided a spark that the Ravens offense has needed for years.

    There was speculation that Smith had trouble catching the ball and would struggle at the NFL level.

    Well, he has not only proved that can be a threat in the NFL, he has comparable numbers to the sixth overall pick from Alabama, wide receiver Julio Jones.

    If Smith can become an effective route runner, allowing him to gain separation in man coverage and find holes in zone coverage, he will be an extremely dangerous offensive weapon for years to come.

    Smith's future in Baltimore looks very bright, as long as he continues to progress.

    Season Stats: 37 receptions, 693 yards, 6 touchdowns

Lee Evans

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    Lee Evans is just about the extent of Baltimore's wide receiver corps.

    When the Ravens traded for Evans just before the 2011 season, they had high hopes that Evans would be the missing piece that they've needed at wide receiver.

    Evans fell victim to an early-season injury and has since been trying to get back on the field.

    The Ravens are now preparing for Week 16, and he has showed no signs that he will be able to make a return that would have any kind of impact for the Ravens offense.

    At this time, it seems the only good thing that has come from Lee Evans is that his injury allowed Torrey Smith to step up and show what he can do.

    Season Stats: 4 receptions, 74 yards, 0 touchdowns

The Rest

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    The Baltimore Ravens only have six wide receivers on their roster.

    We have already reviewed three of them.

    The remaining players have made little-to-no impact for the Ravens this year, and some have even hurt the team.

    David Reed

    Reed is primarily a special teams player. He has no catches on the season but has registered one rush for 16 yards.

    In Week 10 vs. the Seattle Seahawks, Reed lost two costly fumbles on kick returns, which lead to two Seattle field goals. The Ravens eventually lost the game 22-17.

    LaQuan Williams

    Williams was an undrafted free agent from University of Maryland. He's rarely seen the field, as he has only registered four catches for 46 yards this season.

    Tandon Doss

    Doss was a fourth-round pick from Indiana University.

    Doss was also supposedly hand-picked in the draft by Joe Flacco himself. Well, Doss has zero stats on the season, as he has only suited up for four games this year.

Addressing the Need for a Wide Receiver

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    As the Baltimore Ravens prepare to close out the 2011 regular season and head into the playoffs, they will have to compete with the receivers they have.

    Regardless of the outcome of this season, the Ravens will need to find a solid wide receiver in free agency, via trade or in the 2012 NFL draft.

    What do you think the Baltimore Ravens will do regarding wide receivers next season?