Donte’ Stallworth won quote of the day honors yesterday for his response to a question about the energy that fellow wide receiver Derrick Mason brings every practice.
“It’s still hard for me to believe that he’s 56 years old,” Stallworth quipped.
If you were at all concerned about the chemistry of the Ravens’ new-look wide receiving corps, you can rest easy. I’d say the guys are meshing just fine.
“We all get along, man. We all got along as soon as they walked through the door,” Mason said. “I don’t think there was ever a situation where they felt like the outside as soon as they came in the building. They felt like part of the family, and that’s how you want to make the new guys that come in feel - that they’re part of the unit, and that we’re only getting better with the addition of those guys.
“Donte’ and [Anquan Boldin], David [Reed] and the rest of the young guys, they’ve come in here and they’ve blended in well. It makes for a really good environment inside the receivers’ room.”
I guess it would be natural for Mason and Mark Clayton, the two main holdovers from last year, to be at least a little frustrated when it comes to their individual roles in the Ravens’ offense.
Mason is almost certain to earn fewer catches because of the offseason additions, and after five years as the No. 1 wide receiving threat on the Ravens, he will no longer fill that role. Clayton, meanwhile, has been bumped all the way to the fourth receiver on the depth chart, and will likely earn less playing time than a guy (Stallworth) who hasn’t played in an NFL game in 19 months.
But those issues haven’t seemed to be a problem thus far. Clayton has had a smile on his face nearly every second I’ve seen him after practice, and Mason has taken Boldin’s acquisition in stride as well.
“You have to understand when they bring in another wide receiver with the caliber of Anquan, that some things are going to change, and what I just need to do is just continue to go out there and complement Anquan, and we play off of one another,” Mason said. “And, if one guy has a good game, so be it. Next game [it] might be the other guy, so we just have to complement one other and continue to have fun.”
Even guys that are competing for roster spots lower down on the depth chart, like Marcus Smith and Justin Harper, have been shouting encouragement to their fellow wide receivers during practice. A couple days ago, Smith pulled aside Reed during practice, and appeared to walk the rookie through what he had done wrong on a previous play.
Nevermind that the sure-handed Reed could end up knocking Smith and Harper out of a roster spot. That’s apparently not a concern for any of the wide receivers at this point.
“No one has any animosity,” Mason says. “We’re all out here trying to work, and those guys make us better because they’re pushing us each and every day, and that’s what you’re supposed to have, guys below you pushing you to get you better.”