Can Tandon Doss grab starting job at WR?

Can Tandon Doss grab starting job at WR?
August 19, 2013, 9:15 pm
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Ravens have plenty of position battles heading into 3rd preseason game

Ravens receiver Tandon Doss admits that patience is not his strong suit, yet he knew he had to wait his turn.

As Doss learned the ins and outs of being an NFL receiver from the consummate pro, Anquan Boldin, he did so pretty much from the sideline. Boldin was a tough-as-nails player who hardly ever missed a game, leaving Doss -- who described himself last year as "the most impatient guy" -- pretty much watching and waiting.

With Boldin now gone, this preseason was presumably Doss' moment to step up and seize the job as the starting slot receiver. But it hasn't happened yet. And with Brandon Stokley now signed, and Doss halfway through a quiet training camp, is Doss running out of time?

Doss has yet to separate himself in a crowded competition that includes Stokley, Jacoby Jones, Deonte Thompson, David Reed, LaQuan Williams and others. Rookies Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown are also expected to get extended reps with the first team this week as the Ravens seek some clarity with the still-fuzzy wide receiver picture.

Doss finally made a splash in the preseason game against Atlanta last week, catching a five-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

“It’s good to see Tandon make a play like that," coach John Harbaugh said after the game. "That was really, really great to see. Consistency is important, too. You’ve got to stack good plays."

Through two preseason games, Doss hasn't had much of a chance to stack good plays. That touchdown was Doss' only reception of the preseason, and it came after he dropped one pass (initially ruled a fumble) and had another one catch wiped out by a penalty when he grabbed the face mask of the defender.

After the game, Doss said all the right things about working hard and staying positive. But you could sense a hint of frustration in his voice when he said, "I feel comfortable with Joe, but he hasn’t been able to hit me yet, and he hasn’t looked my way yet." Doss, though, quickly added,"but once we get things going, we should be good.”

Doss, a former fourth-round draft pick out of Indiana, has often been praised by coaches for having outstanding hands, but he was hurt last year by a few untimely drops. Doss finished the 2012 season with seven catches for 123 yards. Doss is still just 23, but the time is now to show what he can do.

"I had big expectations, and I haven't lost sight of those," Doss said after the Falcons game. The task now, he added, is to "just stay on with my grind, and do what I can  do."