Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome professed his desire to secure some home-run hitters for his team’s passing game during several interview sessions in this offseason.
While he has praised the pass-catching abilities by the Ravens’ receivers, quarterback Joe Flacco did not really have a deep threat this past season. Veterans Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, the team’s top two wideouts last year, basically are possession receivers.
Flacco has the arm to go deep, and the Ravens were committed to connect on long passes, so the Ravens selected two wideouts with speed, good size and ball skills during the recent NFL Draft to provide more options. And both are expected to contribute this coming season.
The Ravens took Torrey Smith (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) from Maryland in the second round and then selected Tandon Doss (6-2, 201) from Indiana in the fourth round. The pair could cause more matchup problems for the opposition once they get in the mix.
The Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers both had 11 passing touchdowns that went 20 yards or more, and Flacco threw every one for his team. That put him ahead of noted quarterbacks like New England’s Tom Brady and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers with nine each; Chicago’s Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger from the Steelers and Philadelphia’s Michael Vick with eight apiece.
Roethlisberger missed four games due to an NFL-mandated suspension. Backup quarterback Charlie Batch had two long scoring passes, while wideout Antwaan Randle El, cranked up a long one as well off a reverse.
Flacco had 27 completions for at least 25 yards, the second-most in franchise history behind Vinny Testaverde’s 36 in 1996. And reportedly, 17.49 percent (86) of Flacco’s 553 passing attempts were for 20 or more yards, which was fourth-most in the league.