Earlier this week, wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh told me he was a little frustrated with his role in the Ravens' offense through the first three weeks of the season.
A Pro Bowler in 2007, Houshmandzadeh has made just two catches for 31 yards so far this season, and has only been targeted 11 times. He saw very limited playing time in last Sunday's win over the Browns, a game in which he was only targeted once.
Head coach John Harbaugh reacted to those comments yesterday, saying he understands Houshmandzadeh's frustration comes from his high level of competitiveness.
"I think he wants to play, he wants reps, he wants the ball," Harbaugh said. "He's a competitive guy. He's out here in practice; he's taking all the look-team reps that we'll let him take, and we've got to pull him out. He just loves to play, and those are the kind of guys you want on your team.
"We don't worry about that stuff. I mean, that stuff is just talk and chatter and guys wanting to be a part of things. When they step between the lines, we watch that. And it's how hard guys play and how committed they are to doing all of the little things, and I think all of the receivers are doing that."
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is the one who has to juggle all the Ravens' new offensive weapons from a play-calling standpoint, and while it's nice for Cameron to have so many quality offensive playmakers, it also has to be difficult trying to get everyone involved.
With Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Houshmandzadeh, Todd Heap, Ray Rice and others, Cameron has a lot of guys who want the football, and there are only so many touches to go around.
Boldin has clearly been the number one option so far, making 20 catches for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Heap has made 14 catches and Rice has made 10, while Mason and Houshmandzadeh have only seven and two grabs, respectively.
"The important thing for me is that there's a chemistry between Joe [Flacco] and the receivers, and that continues to grow and develop," Cameron said. "And I've talked to those guys about it - they know it. You really don't have to talk a lot about it. But that's the important thing. I like the fact that when it doesn't work out one way or the other, it's, 'OK who's calling the plays?' Put it on me. I'm OK with that. That's what I do, and I like that responsibility.
"As long as there's no chemistry issue between Joe and our receivers, we're going to be fine. And we don't have that right now. We've got great chemistry between those guys. We've got to get the numbers. We want those guys all to be able to contribute. That's my job; that's our staff's job. If a guy gets shortchanged in his mind here or there, put it on me. Alright? Let's get ready for the next week and see what this week entails."