What You Can Expect From Clark, Stokley
Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley are clutch.
They won't drop the ball.
They aren't afraid to go over the middle to make tough catches that move the chains.
They will pick up critical red-zone touchdown receptions.
They will complement their position groups. Stokley balances burners Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones on the outside with underneath routes. Clark's shorter crossing routes counters Dickson, who can stretch the field up the seam.
But 34-year-old Clark will not replace tight end Dennis Pitta, and 37-year-old will not replace receiver Anquan Boldin.
"Does the addition of Dallas Clark show the Baltimore Ravens are desperate at tight end? Yes," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "Are the Ravens now second-guessing themselves for not holding on to wide receiver Anquan Boldin? Absolutely.
"That being said, the Ravens improved themselves at tight end by bringing in Clark rather than not making any move at all." Hensley added: G]iven Stokley's history and the Ravens' current situation at wide receiver, [this could turn out to be another timely, late-offseason signing by General Manager Ozzie Newsome."
There's no questioning Newsome's move to bring in the two veterans. It helps solve the post-Pitta/Boldin problem.
But the Ravens "are under no illusion" that these men are in the prime of their careers.
So what are realistic expectations?
Hensley thinks asking Stokley to notch 60 catches or 700 receiving yards is too much. Last year he picked up 45 receptions for 544 yards, which would be more than welcomed in Baltimore. As for Clark, Hensley says 40 receptions and 20 first downs would make his (pending) signing a productive move for the Ravens.
Both will bring dependability for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Stokley caught 45 passes of 57 targets, which, per Hensley, was the highest success rate in the NFL. He only had one drop. Clark only had two drops.
And while they no longer have the speed they used to display, they won't need it with the underneath routes to make those critical third-down catches. Last season, 30 of Stokley's 45 catches went for first downs.
In the end, adding Clark and Stokley are big roster moves that bring dependable balance to the Ravens' passing game that had lost big pieces.
"The Ravens had to do something and the recent signing of Visanthe Shiancoe, who hasn't had a reception since Dec. 11, 2011, wasn't going to be the answer in the passing game," Hensley wrote.
"Before training camp started, the Ravens probably envisioned Pitta being like Clark from a few years ago, using him more as a slot receiver than a traditional tight end. Now, the Ravens are calling on Clark because Pitta is done for the season. It's not an ideal situation. But the Ravens are doing the best they can in patching up the holes in the passing attack."
Signings Could Mean Two Things
It's important to know that Newsome has said all offseason that the Ravens' passing game could use a veteran presence. The team has always been open to making signings.
However, recent events may have been the impetus for the Ravens to finally pull the trigger.
"Stokley's signing could mean 2 things: Deonte Thompson is expected to be sidelined for a while or young WRs aren't as far along as hoped," tweeted The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Thompson has a sprained foot and has been ruled out for Thursday's preseason game vs. Atlanta. Head Coach John Harbaugh doesn't consider it serious and expects him back for the third preseason game vs. Carolina. Meanwhile, Dickson has a slight tear in his hamstring and was non-committal to playing in Week 1.
Zrebiec noted the underwhelming play from those battling for the No. 2 and No. 3 wide receiver positions in the preseason debut last week, which may have also triggered the Stokley signing.
Doss, who has been one of the favorites to take over the slot position prior to Stokley's arrival, had a "disappearing act" Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, says The Sun's Matt Vensel.
"[W]ide receiver Tandon Doss, who got third-down snaps in the slot during Thursday's preseason game and could lose playing time to Stokley, did little besides a sliding catch on fourth down," Vensel wrote. "Quarterback Joe Flacco instead looked to wide receivers Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. We will see if Doss picks his game up when Stokley practices with the team Monday."
Shiancoe, on the other hand, had a big day.
"Did Visanthe Shiancoe hear the Dallas Clark rumors?" tweeted Baltimore Beat Down's Jason Butt. "[He] just came down with jump ball in the end zone with three Ravens defenders on him."
League Slams Door On Hardcore Face Masks, But Canty Gets Clearance
The league is prohibiting players from using non-standardized facemasks.
That means most of the hardcore face masks below will be banned (and that is a little much, Darnell Dockett)
That said, per NFL.com, Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty has been granted special permission to continue wearing his because he suffered a serious eye injury in 2005.
It unknown weather Suggs will be able to still wear his. He was sporting his intimidating grill last Thursday in Tampa Bay.
Flacco Hardly Spending Any Of His $120 Million
It's been several months since Flacco signed his record-breaking $120 million contract.
He's had plenty of time to make a big purchase.
But outside of moving out of the apartment he rented for five years in the Baltimore area and purchasing a home for his growing family, he has hardly spent any of it, reports CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora.
No cars. No boats. No jewelry – not even for his wife.
"What do I really need?" Flacco said. "Everything I need I already had, and everything I want, if I really want it, I can go get it. But there's nothing I really want. I don't need a $110,000 car or anything like that.
"I mean, I like that four-door Porsche. I like to say I'm going to go buy that. But do I really need it? A year ago I said, 'If I ever sign a big deal I'm going to get that Porsche.' ... but I didn't. That kind of stuff happens -- I think about buying that stuff sometimes. But in the end, what am I going to do with that?"
- Tyrod Taylor, who got a 1.8 grade for his performance in Tampa Bay Thursday night, gave us a "48-snap look at a Ravens offense of a completely different flavor. Contrasted with the stand-tall style of the reigning Super Bowl MVP ahead of him on the depth chart, Taylor's darting presence threatened everything from options at the edge of the line to thoughtful touch passes dropped in downfield," wrote Rick Drummond. "Get him on the field with a full-strength O-line and a dangerous back and the read option becomes a real option. If there's such a thing as a change-of-pace QB, this may be it." [Pro Football Focus]
- "Nearly 800 people, including a number of his football teammates, gathered Friday to pay homage to Donovan, the Colts' Hall of Fame defensive tackle and raconteur who died Sunday, at 89, of a respiratory ailment," wrote Mike Klingaman. "The Rev. Joe Ehrmann, a former Colt defensive tackle, delivered the eulogy for Donovan, whose blue-and-white jersey, No. 70, hung near his casket." [The Baltimore Sun]
- "One day after being dismissively banished to the bench and called lazy and lackadaisical by Harbaugh in front of his teammates, rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette shrugged off the criticism," wrote Aaron Wilson. "Mellette accelerated past the secondary for a long touchdown reception and didn't seem fazed by the scolding from Harbaugh." [The Baltimore Sun]
- @RobertKlemko: Aug. opinions = irrelevant. Last year's power rankings from PFT: #8 Eagles (4-12), #13 Lions (4-12), #29 Vikings (10-6), #31 Colts (11-5) [Twitter]
- @TorreySmithWR: Great practice in the stadium...always a pleasure to be with #ravensnation ....we appreciate y'all [Twitter]
- Oh my hilarious! Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden butchers this Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison." I guess he can't be good at everything. [TMZ]