It is no secret that the NFL is a year-round business. After a one-week break, the Ravens take the next step in their preparations for training camp and the upcoming 2010 season. The next item on the team’s agenda is a four-day passing camp, which began on Monday and runs through Thursday. This Organized Team Activity (OTA) will be focused on improving the aerial attack; and everyone involved with the team and rooting for the team can hardly wait to see how Joe Flacco and his new receivers mesh together. One of the Ravens’ weaknesses last season was that no one besides Derrick Mason and Ray Rice were seen as a threat in the passing game. With Anquan Boldin, Donte Stallworth, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta and David Reed added to holdovers Mason, Rice, Heap, Clayton, and Williams, there are certainly enough targets for Flacco to seek out with his throws. This OTA will be used to get the QB and his receivers on the same page, and will be the first of many steps to get the passing game to become one to be feared in the season to come.
Flacco himself isn’t lacking for confidence; he believes that he should throw for over 4,000 yards in the upcoming season. After three games last season, the sky seemed to be the limit for Joe, however he faded down the stretch as the offense started to sputter as the season wore on. The team hopes to avoid that kind of performance; even as Flacco improved in just about every category over his rookie season, there were still areas where he could stand to imprNow that he has the weapons around him, it’s up to the coaches and players to make it happen.
Passing camp implies that only the quarterback and receivers are present. In fact, there will be members of the offensive line present, as well as members of the defense. Practicing passing without the offensive line and defense would seem to be counter-productive. When the games start to count, the line will have to protect Flacco and their will be a defense lined up on the other side of the ball attempting to prevent the Ravens from making plays with the pass. Even though Flacco has already spent time working with Boldin and Stallworth, and has a familiarity with Mason, Heap, Clayton and the other veterans, every little bit of work serves to sharpen each player’s skills and fine-tune their communication. The Ravens are expecting Flacco to take the next steps in becoming an elite NFL quarterback; the journey to that destination begins anew this week.