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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

Boldin isn't a gamebreaker


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One of the positive aspects of the free-agent signing period is that it gives fans another offseason opportunity to pull for their team to upgrade its personnel. It is very much like the draft in that it engenders a lot of emotional responses, but there is one huge difference -- free agents often have a track record NFL fans are familiar with.


This familiarity can lead fans to think the new acquisition will be a panacea, especially if the team in question is a contender that might be a single dominant player away from making a Super Bowl run. When that caliber of signing is made, it can lead to unrealistic expectations.


For proof, one needs to look no further than a Baltimore Sun fan poll regarding the Ravens trade for Anquan Boldin. Ninety-one percent of the 2,880 fans who voted on the poll as of this writing chose the "Yes, Boldin could be the missing piece the Ravens need at wide receiver" option. Only 9 percent of those polled chose the "He's not a difference-maker" or the "It was a solid move but they gave up too much to get him" options.


The problem with this line of thinking is that it assumes Boldin is the kind of game-breaking threat the Ravens need to open up their passing game. A closer look at the numbers indicates this simply isn't the case.


Boldin's statistical history actually strongly leans toward his being a possession receiver. Over the past two years, he has seen only 66 vertical targets (a "vertical target" is defined as a ball thrown 11 or more yards downfield).


That is a terribly low number, especially for a workhorse receiver. To put this into perspective, consider that out of the 47 receivers who have seen at least 150 total targets the past two years, only five have seen fewer than 66 vertical passes.


Boldin's vertical pass percentage (the percentage of his overall targets that are "vertical") is even worse. Of that same group of 47, only Antwaan Randle El and Wes Welker had a lower vertical pass percentage than Boldin's 24.5 percent. His mark was even lower than the totals posted by noted possession specialists Bobby Wade (31.6 percent), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (32 percent) and Davone Bess (33 percent).


If that wasn't enough to reconsider his status as a game-breaking wideout, it is also worth noting that only 10 of those 66 vertical targets were of the deep (20-29 yards) or bomb (30-plus yards) variety, and only three of those 10 were tallied in 2009.


What these totals indicate is that Boldin has a short/medium-pass skill set similar to the one that Derrick Mason gave Baltimore over the years. That makes this much more of a lateral move than an upgrade, but one that GM Ozzie Newsome smartly made at low price.



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What a flawed article.


First off, Boldin is known for his YAC, maybe more than any other receiver. The fact that he has RECENTLY (last two years) been targeted so comparably few times is meaningless in a game situation.


Secondly, Arizona has more deep threats at receiver than anyone in the league. Why would he need to run so far downfield anyway?


Thirdly, this only considers (to the hack writer's advantage) the last two seasons, when Arizona's receivers emerged (remember, he was their top option once), and when he missed five games.


Fourth, how does any of this make Boldin a lateral move? Does Mason go over the middle? Is Mason half as strong as Boldin? Is he suddenly eight years younger? Did Mason gain five inches? Does Mason EVER get YAC?


It's amazing to think that someone had to PAY to read this ridiculousness.

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Fourth, how does any of this make Boldin a lateral move? Does Mason go over the middle? Is Mason half as strong as Boldin? Is he suddenly eight years younger? Did Mason gain five inches? Does Mason EVER get YAC?


This point alone is where Boldin makes us a better team. At 6'1" 217 pounds with long arms and strong hands, he give Joe a large catching target anywhere on the field. Mason at 5'10", and being a body catcher, does not give Flacco much room for error on his throws. Boldin on the other hand can use his size and strength to fight for balls in the air anywhere on the field. We know that Boldin is not a deep threat, it is the YAC, like you said, that makes him dangerous.

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Not to mention that we could still retain Mason, and having two Masons would definitely not be a lateral move, even if they were equal. Would trading for Polamalu be a lateral move, because we already have Reed? What a ridiculous contention.

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He also failed to notice that Boldin was in Warners 'dink & dunk' offense.

Fans think of Fitzgerald as a field stretcher. Guess again. His YPC is less than Boldins.


How many teams have a real field stretching playmaker anyway?


Finally...what's wrong with moving the chains? What's wrong with a 1,000 receiving yards a year? If the Ravens retain Mason then there is a strong probability of the Ravens having 2 1,000 yard receivers in 2010. They haven't had that since Jackson and Alexander in '96.

What's wrong or weak about that?





The gamebreaker part comes from the whole package of receivers. The better the package, the harder to cover, the more mismatches exploited. Nothing in the poll says Boldin is a gamebreaker. It says "Yes. He could be the missing piece the Ravens needed at wide receiver." He could be the missing piece that makes the whole very effective and difficult to defend.

Edited by vmax
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Boldin is the type of guy that knows how to get open in zones and how to come back to a QB. Do you know how huge this is going to be against Pitt?!?! Now (assuming Mason will return) Pitt is gonna have a hell of time covering both guys. Go ahead bracket cover Mason, Boldin will find a seam. Bracket them both and Stallworth will beat you deep. Cover that and Who the hell is gonna account for the mighty mite Rice. That guy refuses to go down and can turn a basic check down into 20+ yard gains.

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