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Don't Forget Jacoby Jones In Wide Receiver Battle


Who's going step up at wide receiver?

That's been the big question for the Ravens since trading Anquan Boldin to the 49ers this offseason. The answer to that question has focused on the Ravens' young receivers, like Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, David Reed, Tommy Streeter and LaQuan Williams.

But don't forget about Jacoby Jones.

The seven-year veteran is fresh off his stint on "Dancing With The Stars," and he's very much in the mix to be the team's No. 2 wideout alongside Torrey Smith.

"I think you are going to find, obviously, that he is going to get more opportunities," Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell said. 

Jones worked as the team's No. 3 receiver last year behind Boldin and Smith, and finished the season with 30 catches for 406 yards and a touchdown. He was primarily a deep threat who used his breakaway speed to stretch the field and beat defenses over the top.

Part of the challenge with increasing Jones' offensive snaps is that it would likely limit what he's able to do on special teams. He was a Pro Bowl return man who proved his value as both a kick and punt returner, and increasing his role on offense is a balancing act to keep him fresh for returns. 

"I think across the board you are going to find that it's going to get spread out a little bit more," Caldwell said.

Throughout his career, Jones has primarily been a No. 3 receiver. That role allows him to best capitalize on his speed, rather than focusing on some of the nuanced aspects of being a No. 1 or 2 receiver who runs underneath to work the middle of the field.

Elevating his role in the offense would force Jones to add more layers to his game, and the Ravens are confident he's up to the task.

"I do think that he has the ability. There's no question about that," Caldwell said. "He has the ability to do it. He can catch. He can run. Obviously, he is still going to serve our special teams and serve them well in his role that he plays for them. But then obviously, we will use him, certainly, as a big part of our offense as well."

Jones was a starter for the Houston Texans in 2011, and he finished that year with 31 catches for 512 yards and two touchdowns. He has emphasized since signing with the Ravens that he's willing to do any job that the coaches ask of him, as long as he has opportunities to get the ball in his hands.

"I just play my role," Jones said. "Whatever they want me to do, I'm ready to do it. I think the whole receiving corps as a whole, we've all got to step up and make plays."

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