OWINGS MILLS – It would be harder for the Ravens to have a younger tight end group. Crockett Gillmore, the starter, is beginning his second NFL season. Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle are both rookies.
Will they be poised enough to be productive in Sunday’s season-opener in Denver, when even veteran players will experience opening-game jitters? Ravens coach John Harbaugh does not sound worried.
“I really have been pleased with the tight ends,” Harbaugh said. “How far back would you have to go to find a younger group of tight ends in this league? I’m really excited about them. I can’t wait to see them play. I feel like they have what it takes. I feel like they’re going to acquit themselves very well.”
Ironically, Broncos tight Owen Daniels will line up opposite the Ravens on Sunday, after starting for the Ravens last year in the aftermath of Dennis Pitta’s hip injury. Daniels followed Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak to Denver during free agency, prompting the Ravens to draft Williams (second round) and Boyle (fifth round).
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco loves throwing to tight ends, and new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman likes using two tight-end sets. Gillmore, who caught 10 passes as a rookie, has improved as a pass-catching tight end, and Williams was considered the best receiving tight end in the draft.
That sounds good on paper. But with Pitta beginning the season on the PUP list, the Ravens know they can’t afford to wait on their young tight ends.