clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ravens Wide Receivers Are Not Happy With Critics So Far

New, comments
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens wide receivers have heard the criticism from the media and from the fans about how "bad" this wide receiver group is. Anytime a player says they don't pay attention to what the media says, take it for a grain of salt most of the time.

They listen. And they listen good.

"Hearing that kind of stuff … I’m being real political right now, but that can definitely light a fire under you, Ravens rookie wide receiver Darren Waller noted via BaltimoreRavens.com.

It's understandable that Waller would feel that way. It really is. It's kind of weird to say this, but the wide receivers on the Ravens roster can't it too personal. The biggest reason why some fans are not happy with the wide receiver position isn't really about just the active players as an individual. It's a build up.

The build up is frustration that Ravens fans have had over the years with this team not being able to develop wide receivers at a respectable rate. The struggle to see wide receivers create space for themselves. The frustration of not seeing their own wide receivers run crisp routes like other NFL teams do.

The frustration is from fans who have to defend quarterback Joe Flacco week after week, year after year despite being a Super Bowl MVP. Flacco hasn't had weapons like other quarterbacks have had around the league over the years. If this was a one year situation, players on the roster wouldn't be hearing negative things as much. But struggles from young players at the receiver position is an old story for people watching the Ravens over the years.

Let's run a breakdown:

  • Tom Brady has Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman
  • Aaron Rodgers has Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb
  • Andrew Luck has T.Y. Hilton
  • Ben Roethlisberger has Antonio Brown
  • Andy Dalton has A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert
  • Tony Romo has Dez Bryant and Jason Witten
  • Carson Palmer has Larry Fitzgerald
  • Phillip Rivers has had Antonio Gates for years
  • Drew Brees had Jimmy Graham for years but still has Marques Colston
  • Russell Wilson has Jimmy Graham now
  • Matthew Stafford has Calvin Johnson

All of the quarterbacks listed have long term solutions to throw to. Flacco has never had that.

  • Derrick Mason was with Flacco for three seasons from 2008-2010 and got released.
  • Todd Heap was with Flacco for three seasons from 2008-2010 and got released
  • Anquan Boldin was with Flacco for three seasons from 2010-2012 and got traded.
  • Torrey Smith was with Flacco for four seasons from 2011-2014 and left in free agency.
  • Steve Smith Sr. is in his second year with Flacco and Smith Sr. is set to retire after 2015.

At the very least, there is no continuity for Flacco at the wide receiver or even the tight end position. Would things be easier for Flacco if tight Dennis Pitta wasn't hurt over the last three seasons? Sure. But the fact of the matter is, he isn't available. Flacco hasn't had the fortune of having available and reliable targets consistently over the course of his career.

This where the frustration from Ravens fans are coming from. Year after year after year for the last 18 seasons the Ravens have not had a solution at wide receiver. It's a big reason why Breshad Perriman has been getting criticized locally in Maryland. Some people feel like he's going to be another first round draft pick like Travis Taylor or Mark Clayton who won't pan out.

Having said all of this, Ravens fans wouldn't trade their front office for anyone else.General manager Ozzie Newsome is still the best general manager in the NFL. The list of pro bowl and hall of fame players Newsome has drafted is endless. It just so happens to be that drafting a wide receiver hasn't been a strong suit for this team. The best general managers in any sport have flaws. Nobody is perfect.

Ravens fans just want to see a change for the better at wide receiver. They want stability at the position. So guys like Waller, Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro and Chris Givens shouldn't take it personal. They should take the challenge to step up. They have the talent to do so.