It was pretty obvious that Joe Flacco needs go-to receivers who know what Joe needs to do after enduring last week's preseason game against Carolina.
I will never forget Joe's hollering at Tandon Doss after Doss completely mucked up a route— which resulted in a game-changing INT.
Fortunately for the Ravens it was still preseason.
But the misadventure of Tandon Doss underscores the need of the Ravens to replace what they have lost with the trade departure of Anquan Boldin and the tragic injury which has shelved TE Dennis Pitta…
Maybe the aging veteran Brandon Stokley is part of the solution?
“He runs great routes,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He does a great job of getting loose and getting open against pretty much every coverage. It was good to see.”
Stokley finished the Carolina game with three catches for 43 yards, and two of those receptions went for first downs.
The Ravens signed the 14-year veteran last week to bring in a proven receiver who can move the chains. He’s a polished slot receiver who racked up 45 catches for 544 receiving yards last year with the Denver Broncos.
After trading Anquan Boldin to San Francisco this offseason, Baltimore needed a receiver with good hands who can work the middle of the field and move the chains. Stokley is showing he could be that target.
While Stokley got off to a good start with Flacco, veteran tight end Dallas Clark did not have as strong of a night in his preseason debut. Clark started the game, but finished with no catches on two targets.
“It just seemed like he didn’t get too many opportunities,” Harbaugh said.
Flacco threw Clark’s direction twice, but both passes fell incomplete. One of the targets was a seam route over the middle of the field in tight traffic, and Clark did not get fully extended for the pass that bounced off his hands. The other attempt was a pass in the flat that Clark dropped, but a penalty negated that play.
“I think he had the one seam route that was a little high and would have been a tough grab,” Harbaugh said. “I would have loved to have seen him get a chance, but sometimes the coverage just doesn’t allow that.”
Dallas Clark is better than not having a Dallas Clark…especially in light of the loss of Pitta and the current injury to backup TE Ed Dickson. But you would be excused for worrying if Clark still has anything left to give offensively from his position.
Personally, I think he does. I think what you saw in PS Game 3 was a veteran guy still learning the playbook and definitely aware of not exposing himself to unnecessary injury during the learning process.
Clark will become a gamer for Flacco when the games actually count. Until then, I expect Flacco and Stokley to be spending a lot of time together in practice and in meetings. I think their partnership on the field will be crucial to the Ravens being able to say letting Boldin go was a smart move.