The Ravens went from having just three healthy receivers two weeks ago in Miami to having their full complement of wideouts last Sunday against the Packers.
With six receivers able to go against the Packers, coach John Harbaugh chose to deactivate Brandon Stokley, who could have played despite a groin injury. What will the Ravens do this week? Will Stokley be the odd man out again?
Harbaugh doesn’t mind having to sort through such questions now that Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown and Deonte Thompson are healthy enough to join Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss as receiving options.
“It’s a challenge for us, but it’s a good problem,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “We want to have talented guys. We feel like we have a talented group that we’re developing in a lot of ways. And we need them out there to grow with those guys. So I love having those guys out there. We’ve got some options this week. It’s going to be fun to see how it plays out in practice to see which guys we put out there.”
It could be an unsettled situation moving forward. For example, now that Jones is back and able to handle returns, perhaps a possession receiver like Stokley is more valuable than having two other return specialists active in Doss and Thompson.
With so much new and unknown, Harbaugh and the coaching staff are working to learn everyone’s strengths and which mix gives the Ravens the best chance to win.
“That’s what we have to figure out,” Harbaugh said. “We know what guys can do, but also, how do they fit in with one another? We’re still doing that. I mentioned Monday that we are in flux that way, probably, with the wide receivers. It’s a good flux, because we’ve got talented guys, and now how do we utilize those guys? I’m excited to see how that plays out.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco likes having the full group at his disposal, especially now that Jones’ speed is back opposite the wheels belonging to Smith.
“Getting Jacoby back last week definitely added something. You can tell when he’s on the field, defenses have to prepare for it,” Flacco said. “And I think the exciting thing is that we’ve gotten to really find out what kind of players some of these other guys are, and we’re going to be able to rely on them in the future.”