Anquan Boldin is now in his third season with the Ravens, and after Tuesday's mandatory minicamp workout, the wide receiver said he expects the offense to be better than it has ever been during his time in Baltimore.
He raved about the leadership Joe Flacco showed by being a participant throughout organized team activities and marveled at his quarterback's ability to throw footballs accurately in steady rain on Tuesday afternoon. He talked about how continuity will benefit the Ravens, who return 10 of their starters on offense from 2011. And he hyped up the team's wide receivers, whom he believes are the best bunch he has played with here.
"I think we've got some guys that are real talented and I think that the good thing for them this year is that they got a chance to get in early and learn the offense. Unfortunately, last year we were going through the lockout, and those guys didn't get the same opportunity," said Boldin, who led the Ravens in receiving yards.
The Ravens averaged 213.9 passing yards per game in 2011, which ranked 19th in the NFL. That was a slight improvement from 2010 when they averaged 208.4, 20th in the NFL. They ranked 15th in total yards in 2011.
Now, young wide receivers Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, and LaQuan Williams feel much more comfortable with a year under their belts. And since the Ravens have retained most of their offensive personnel from last season -- the notable departures from 2011 are Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs, backup running back Ricky Williams and No. 3 wideout Lee Evans -- Boldin believes improved chemistry will result in better production.
"You can have 10 guys doing the right thing, and if one guy messes up, it makes the entire offense look shabby," Boldin, who turns 32 in October, said. "So whenever you have guys that have worked together, know each other's strengths and weaknesses, know how to play off of each other, don't really have to communicate verbally, but know what the other one is doing, I think it makes the offense that much better."
Boldin hopes to make himself better this offseason, too.
He had 57 receptions last season, which was the second-lowest total of his career (he made 56 in 10 games in 2004). And after averaging nearly six and a half touchdowns a season, he had just three. But he also had bright spots, willing the Ravens to a comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8 and hauling in 10 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs.
Boldin says he has watched "a lot of film" of himself from last season and has identified little things -- such as changing how he breaks out of certain routes -- that he can do to improve his game before the season starts.