We all saw what Anquan Boldin was capable of when he was paired with Kurt Warner in the Arizona Cardinals offense. Boldin paired with All Pro Larry Fitzgerald for one of the most feared passing attacks in the league.
In Boldin's seven seasons with Arizona he surpassed 1,000 yards five times. His best season being 2005 when he amassed 1,402 yards and seven touchdowns. He also hauled in a career high in touchdowns with 11 in 2008. Boldin was doing it before Fitzerald came to Arizona as well. In his rookie season he had 101 catches for 1.377 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Since Boldin has been with the Baltimore Ravens, he has yet to break the 1,000 yard mark. His first season 2011 he had 837 yards with 7 touchdowns. Not bad. Last season Boldin amassed 887 yards even though he missed three games mid season. He finished the season with only three scores. His lowest total since his second year when he had only one. Boldin only played in 10 games that season.So Anquan hasn't been bad as a Raven but he definitely has not been the game breaking receiver that fans had hoped for when they got him.Of course there are many attributing reason to Boldin's slight decline in production since joining the Ravens. Joe Flacco had only two seasons of NFL experience when Boldin came aboard the Ravens roster. the offense was still in run and protect the ball mode. Much of the passing game was built around come backs to Mason and the occasional pass over the middle to Todd Heap. Joe Flacco was growing and Boldin was brought in to help that process.
Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin actually performed quite well together in their first season 837 yards and seven TD's isn't bad. The problem was that Boldin was the focal point of that growing passing attack and he didn't have a quarterback with years of NFL experience throwing him open all over the field. Instead he had to work with the team and become part of unit that was trying to find an identity.
With the development of running back Ray Rice, Joe Flacco and the addition of speedster Torrey Smith I think the Ravens have found that elusive offensive identity. The biggest questions about the Ravens offense are who will be the third receiver and how will he be used? If Baltimore can find a reliable outside presence opposite Torrey Smith in the receiving game, Boldin could move to the slot where he can out maneuver most inside players.
Anquan can still be used on the outside as well. If Joe Flacco progresses as much as we all think we saw at the end of last season he should be able to use Anquan's size and savvy to get him the ball in some open spaces. The Ravens offense is headed in the right direction... I think. They still seem to fall apart from time to time with no real explanation besides "what we tried just didn't work". How about some in game adjustment this season when swing passes to Rice just don't seem to be working! Any way, I'm getting off track. The point is, if the offense grows as expected, I believe Anquan Boldin will have another dominant season.
In fact. I think Anquans numbers will be a very good gauge as to how the offense is performing. No matter where he ends up playing or who is playing beside, the Ravens need a great season form Boldin. That is, after all, what they traded for.