With the addition of Ben Watson, don’t be surprised if the Ravens throw to their tight ends even more next season. Watson caught six touchdown passes for the Saints in 2015, and the Ravens envision using him effectively in red zone situations. Here are three reasons why tight ends will be a key part of the Ravens’ attack:
1. Formations featuring two tight ends often cause matchup problems for opposing defenses.
Many teams don’t have two safeties or linebackers agile enough to cover tight ends. With Watson, Maxx Williams, and Crockett Gillmore, the Ravens have the depth to use two tight-end sets whenever they choose.
“We are a tight-end oriented offense,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said at the combine.
2. Williams should feel more comfortable in his second season.
Some people don’t realize that Williams is one of the NFL’s youngest players. He will turn 22 years old on April 12. Williams figures to play a bigger role next season, coming off a rookie season in which he caught 32 passes. He was considered the top pass-catching tight end in the 2015 draft.
“I expect Maxx Williams to make the jump that most players do in their second year,” Newsome said. “I think he understands what it takes to play in the league and I think he is the type of person that wants to excel. I think he’s going to take advantage of this offseason when we get him back into training camp and things like that. I just see him trending up.”
3. The speed of wide receivers Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace should create more operating room for tight ends to work underneath.
The Ravens wanted Wallace in free agency, not only to make plays, but to stretch defenses. Once the Ravens lost Perriman to injury last season, opponents lost respect for the Ravens’ deep passing game. That’s why Perriman’s health is crucial. Whenever Perriman or Wallace run deep routes, corners and safeties will be forced to honor it. That should leave tight ends facing more matchups they can take advantage of.