Time to get Boldin the ball

Acquired this offseason to be the playmaking wide receiver that the Ravens have lacked for years, Anquan Boldin hasn't been given the opportunity to make many plays lately.

Boldin had a handful of huge years with the Cardinals, posting five seasons of at least 83 catches and 1,000 yards. And this is despite missing at least one game to injury in five of seven seasons in Arizona.

But for much of the second half of this season, and especially in the last month, Boldin has been a non-factor. Here are his numbers in the Ravens' last three games:

Week 15 vs. Saints: 1 catch, 2 yards
Week 16 vs. Browns: 2 catches, 15 yards
Week 17 vs. Bengals: 2 catches, 9 yards

Perhaps even a more concerning stat is that since a Week 7 win over the Bills, Boldin has only once topped the five-catch or 50-yard marks in a single game.

With the exception of his five-catch, 118-yard performance against the Steelers in early December, it's been nine games since the three-time Pro Bowler was a major part of the offense, at least when you look at the numbers.

Are defenses rolling coverage towards Boldin and trying to take him away in the passing game? Yes, sometimes they are, and that has left Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Todd Heap facing favorable match-ups in single man coverage. In that sense, Boldin is still contributing in the passing game, and he's still an elite blocking receiver on the outside.

But offensive coordinator Cam Cameron needs to find a way for Boldin to contribute in more ways than just being a decoy and a blocker.

When Boldin was acquired in the trade with the Cardinals, we heard from Ravens' coaches and front office personnel how physical of a receiver he was, and how he'd be a threat over the middle and in the red zone.

So, let's see it. Let's see Boldin get the ball on quick slants, on wide receiver screens. Let's see him catch the ball in traffic and use his 6-foot-1, 217-lb.frame to bounce off tacklers and pick up yards after the catch.

That's where Boldin excels - fighting through defenders and getting the tough yards. If the 12-yard comeback routes aren't working for him, then find other ways to get him the football.

Boldin hasn't complained once throughout this stretch, saying that he doesn't care about his numbers and is only concerned with getting wins every week.

But if the Ravens are going to keep putting up wins and moving deeper in the playoffs, Boldin is going to have to become more of a weapon in the passing game. With the postseason kicking off this weekend, now's a good time to start getting him more involved.

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