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Wide Receivers Rotating First-Team Reps


Arguably the biggest position battle during training camp is at wide receiver, as the Ravens are looking for someone to step into a starting role.

Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, David Reed and Deonte Thompson are all competing for time, and through the first week of camp all of them are getting opportunities to work with the first-team offense.

"That's exactly the plan," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We're rotating those guys by period usually, and we're giving them all a chance to work with the first group and work with Joe [Flacco]."

Jones came into training camp as the No. 2 receiver opposite of Torrey Smith, but the young targets were on his heels fighting for time. All of them have shown glimpses of their potential in the first week of camp, hauling in some tough catches and developing a rapport with Flacco.

Doss has spent a good amount of time working with the starters, and Harbaugh has been impressed with the third-year wideout.

"Tandon, to me, has looked good," Harbaugh said. "He looks fast to me. He looks more explosive than he's probably ever looked before."

Doss has the most experience of the young wideouts, as he finished last year with seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. The former fourth-round pick has been stuck behind Anquan Boldin the last two years, but he's known for having good hands and has shown a burst during camp practices.

Like all of the receivers in the group, Doss has gone through some ups and downs in camp. He's made highlight-reel one-handed grabs, but then also dropped some balls that he should have caught.

"He had a lot of balls thrown to him, so there were a couple in there – I remember a couple drops – but I sure remember a lot of catches," Harbaugh said.

Thompson has also come into this year's camp with expectations to compete for a starting job. He made the team as an undrafted free agent after a strong training camp last year, and the coaches like the progress he's made heading into Year 2.

"He has really made some improvements," Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "I think that's what you find [with] guys going into their second year. They have a little bit more familiarity with your system, [and] they start to play a little bit more relaxed. They still have a lot to learn, but he's making good progress."

Like Doss and Thompson, Jones and Reed have also been given plenty of chances to work with the first team. Both of them have great speed, but Jones is known more as someone to go deep and take the top off the defense, while Reed can work the middle of the field.

All of the receivers bring something a little different to the table, and that's what the Ravens want out of the group.

"You have to be flexible in this league, because you never know week to week exactly what you're going to face from an injury standpoint or anything of that nature," Caldwell said. "You better have a lot of guys that understand the system well and enough flexibility to move them around position to position."

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