How much will the Ravens miss Anquan Boldin?

How much will the Ravens miss Anquan Boldin?
July 12, 2013, 12:30 pm
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*Leading up to the start of Ravens training camp we will be answering the top 10 questions the reigning Super Bowl Champions will face as they begin their title defense. 

Question No. 9 - How will the Ravens compensate for the loss of wide receiver Anquan Boldin?

Answer: The Ravens won’t rely on just one player to fill the shoes of Boldin, who excelled in clutch situations.

Boldin led the Ravens in receptions and receiving yards, both during the 2012 regular season and playoffs. Though not fleet-footed, Boldin has tremendous hands and superb body control. Joe Flacco did not have to throw pinpoint passes to Boldin. Whenever he was in a jump-ball situation with a defensive back, the odds favored Boldin coming down with the football.

With Boldin traded to the 49ers, how will the Ravens adjust? Expect to see more two tight-end sets featuring Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson. Both tight ends are capable receivers. Both should get more opportunities in third-down and red zone situations.

During training camp, the door will be wide open for any receiver to gain more of Flacco’s confidence. Torrey Smith is now the No. 1 receiver, but the Ravens will need him to be more of a possession receiver, not just a home run threat. Ditto for Jacoby Jones. Meanwhile, other receivers like Tandon Doss, David Reed, Deonte Thompson, Aaron Mellette, and LaQuan Williams must prove they are ready for bigger roles.

If none of them step up, general manager Ozzie Newsome may acquire a veteran wide receiver prior to Week 1. When people talk about how different the Ravens will be next season, they usually start with the retirement of Ray Lewis, or the departure of Ed Reed. But Boldin was a key cog in the offense, particularly during the Super Bowl run. The 49ers are glad to have him. The Ravens will have to adjust without him.