Last season was a career year for Ray Rice. A pro bowler, one of the best offensive performers in the NFL and contributing big plays week in and week out, Rice was what made this Ravens offense roll this season. He had an astounding 78 receptions, and if Joe Flacco’s first option wasn’t open, it was almost automatically thrown to Rice. The two had a good dynamic, albeit overused, but I digress. The question is how Anquan Boldin will affect Rice’s production, especially in the passing game.
Boldin is a force in the passing game. Putting him, a top-flight possession receiver, along with Derrick Mason, also a guy great at pulling in passes, will mean a lot of nice gains in the passing game. Will that make Rice a non-factor receiving the ball out of the backfield, not even considering the addition of Donte Stallworth? Rice rattled off two huge, huge gains after receptions at Minnesota that kept the Ravens in the game. Along with his reliability out of the backfield, Rice exploded with the ball and made short gains into big, game-changing plays. Will the new additions subtract from that?
I guess the main question is if Rice does in fact suffer a dip in the receiving category, which is highly likely, will it make the Ravens’ offense less effective? Will Joe Flacco be less comfortable knowing there’s more pressure to throw it downfield than to throw a checkdown pass to Rice? Just a few of the questions that we want answered, and part of what makes the 2010 season so exciting for all Ravens fans.