For Ravens receiver Tandon Doss, waiting is the hardest part.
Doss describes himself as "the most impatient guy," so he admits that waiting for his chance to emerge as an NFL receiver has been tough. He takes some consolation, though, in the fact that he is learning the nuances of his position from "one of the best ever" in veteran Anquan Boldin.
Doss, the Ravens fourth-round draft pick out of Indiana in 2011, struggled to get on the field as a rookie. He appeared in six games last season, mainly on special teams, and did not have any receptions.
Doss started slowly this season after being hobbled in training camp by a hamstring injury. As the Ravens' No. 4 receiver, he has five catches for 95 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown on a 15-yard catch at Houston.
Coaches have said Doss might have the best hands on the team, and he is widely viewed as the heir apparent to Boldin, 32, at slot receiver. But when you play behind one of the toughest receivers around, there isn't much chance to be the next man up.
Doss said that waiting for his chance has been "on my mind heavy, but I cannot complain at all. I'm blessed to be in this position, and I'm learning from one of the best ever in Anquan Boldin."
"Watching him each and every play, to see what he does as he releases, how he just reads the defense, it's been amazing to sit back and watch him," Doss said.
Boldin, Doss said, physically is "a monster."
That was on full display at San Diego, when Boldin caught a pass, turned upfield and drove his shoulder into Chargers safety Atari Bigby, sending the 211-pound safety literally flying toward the sideline. It was also Boldin who delivered the key block on safety Eric Weddle near the end of Ray Rice's epic fourth-and-29 scamper.
"I love watching him play," Doss said of his mentor. "He's respected all around the league for how physical he is. Everything I'm learning now is from him."
Doss set the Indiana record for kickoff return yardage in a season in 2010 and has served as a return specialist in a limited role with the Ravens. Doss has averaged 4.3 yards on three punt returns filling in for Jacoby Jones and had a 32-yard return called back by penalty against Oakland.
"I'm here to play receiver, but wherever they need me right now I'm willing to fill in, whether it's receiving, special teams, returns, whatever," Doss said. "(I'm) just looking to fill in, and when my name's called make plays for them. "