The Baltimore Ravens are going through another season in which one position is plagued by injuries. Last season, it was the cornerbacks that were dropping on a regular basis and the team was looking every option available. This team is turning over every stone in hopes of finding wide receivers to fill in for all the injured Ravens.
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Quarterback Joe Flacco will be without three players the Ravens highly expected to contribute on offense. First-round pick Breshad Perriman has been out since the opening day of training camp with a knee injury and there are rumblings that he might not take the field at all this season. Steve Smith is out Thursday with four broken ribs. Michael Campanaro has placed on injured reserve last week with a back injury.
The injuries leave the Ravens with arguably the worst group of receivers in team history. Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown were both undrafted. Darren Waller was a sixth-round pick and Chris Givens was a fourth-rounder. We are not talking about a group of dynamic receivers and the experience on the field is a concern as well. According to Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun, the Ravens are actively looking for answers.
Yesterday, Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White spoke out about his role in the Falcons offense. It comes at an odd time as Atlanta is currently just one of three teams undefeated in the NFC. The comments come after being held without a reception for back-to-back games after 130 consecutive games with a catch.
“For me, at the end of the day, I want to catch passes. I’m not out here just f—ing around just to sit around to just block f—ing people all day. It’s not what I want to do.”
You cannot fault him for wanting to make plays, but the fact of the matter is, he is the No. 2 guy with Julio Jones on board. Falcons QB Matt Ryan has also targeted newcomer Leonard Hankerson quite a bit as White ranks fifth in both catches and yards for Atlanta this season. That’s a huge drop off for the franchise leader in receptions (771), yards (10,449) and touchdowns (62).
What is stopping the Ravens from making a phone call and getting White to being a top wide out once again?
Baltimore desperately needs a playmaker on the outside. At the ripe age of 33, he isn’t the game-breaker he once was in his prime, but he’s certainly still capable of making an impact on a game. He has shown that he is experienced enough to beat defenders and make plays on the ball. That is a statement that the Ravens current crop of receivers can’t make.
The addition of White would do great things for the Ravens, not only now, but in the future as well. Right now, Flacco needs a reliable target on the outside with Smith on the bench. It would move Aiken into a complimentary role, which is better suited for his skills. Givens could use his shiftiness in the slot, and Brown and Waller’s height are matchup problems.
Once Smith returns, Marc Trestman would once again have two playmaking targets like he did with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Teams would not be able to double either receiver and this would also help the running game. Stack the box and the Ravens would beat teams through the air. If defenses go with extra defensive backs, then Justin Forsett should be able to take advantage.
White could then step into the lead role for the Ravens next season with Smith expected to retire after this year. Trestman would have White in the mix and the hope would be that Perriman will be ready to be a starter. He would be the veteran presence that will be missing with Smith’s departure.
It makes sense for both parties to get this deal done. The New York Jets needed a fifth-round pick to get Marshall from the Chicago Bears. The Ravens should send a fifth-round pick of their own to the Falcons for White because the Ravens should get compensatory picks for the free agents that left the team this past offseason. For the Falcons, the team would still have Jones, Hankerson and Justin Hardy, who Atlanta coaches are high on.
If what Preston said is true, you would think that Ozzie Newsome has made the call to Atlanta to see what it would take to pry him away. Roddy White wants the ball, and if the Falcons won’t give it to him, Flacco would be more than happy to give him exactly what he wants.
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