LaQuan Williams turned some heads on the very first day of training camp.
In the highlight of the day, Williams blew by a defender and made a diving catch down the sidelines on a lofted deep ball. The catch brought some excitement to practice from players on both sides of the ball, as teammates praised Williams for the acrobatic grab.
Fellow second-year receiver Tandon Doss, however, wouldn't let Williams take all the glory.
A few days later, Doss made a number of nice catches in traffic. The sure-handed receiver also showed off a burst of speed to get by defenders, and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said it was the best practice he'd ever seen from Doss.
That's the way it's been for the two receivers in the first week of training camp.
"It's very competitive," Williams said. "We have very good guys, and we just go out there and work. Everyone is making plays, so we'll just see how it pans out by the end of the preseason."
Doss and Williams are both hoping to earn a spot on the roster and get more playing time on offense.
They have been working as the No. 4 wide receivers behind Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, but both players have big expectations for what they want to do.
"I want to be a starter," Doss said. "I know it's tough with Torrey, Anquan and Jacoby now, but that's my goal. That's my focus. I'm willing to fill in wherever they want me, but my goal is to be a starter."
Doss spent all of last season on the 53-man roster, but was active for just six games and did not catch a pass. He was targeted twice.
Despite limited production last year, the Ravens are still high on the fourth-round pick from Indiana.
"We all know the kind of player he is," Cameron said. "If he can stay healthy, he's a guy that I think is going to be an outstanding player, a guy that we won't have a tough time finding a role for him. But, this guy is a player."
Staying healthy has been a recent challenge for Doss, who had to miss Monday's practice with a tweaked hamstring. Head Coach John Harbaugh did not give a timetable for when Doss will get back on the field.
Missing training camp practice is costly for Doss who said that staying healthy is key to having a productive 2012 season.
"I have to stay healthy," Doss said. "My lower body is giving me some trouble, but just staying healthy and getting in the playbook more to be comfortable and more confident in that."
Meanwhile, Williams was more utilized than Doss on offense last year, as he caught four passes for 46 yards. He made two of those grabs in a critical game on the road against Pittsburgh.
He performed well in limited opportunities, but the former undrafted free agent still feels like he has to show the coaching staff that he deserves to keep his spot on the roster.
"I'm pretty much trying to prove that I belong here," Williams said. "Every day I come out and get that stigma off my back that I'm an undrafted free agent. Just come out every day and try to stand out. It's definitely a chip that I hold on my shoulder."
Williams earned a roster spot last season with an impressive training camp, and he said the start to this year's camp is "pretty decent" for him. He's made a handful of athletic catches and also has shown off his speed to get past defensive backs.
Another key component for Williams is the role he plays on special teams. He made a mark on the coverage units last year, including in the AFC championship where he forced a fumble on a kickoff return.
Williams has been working on punt and kick coverage, and says that performing in that area will go a long way in helping him earn a spot on the roster.
"That's another area that's key for me to make the team this year," Williams said.
The two receivers are part of a tight position battle that also includes rookies Tommy Streeter and Deonte Thompson, and third-year wideout David Reed when he returns from offseason surgery for a torn ACL.
The Ravens had five receivers on the active roster at the end of last season, and Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler said he's not sure exactly how many they will keep this year.
For Doss and Williams, their focus is on getting on the field and making the most of their opportunities the next few weeks.
"Some things are out of my control," Doss said. "I'm just trying to see where I fit in, and whenever they call my name, just show up and do what I have to do."
"We're still working out the wrinkles," Williams added. "But I feel like we're progressing and we'll see where it goes from here."