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Doss plays waiting game

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Doss plays waiting game

For Ravens receiver Tandon Doss, waiting is the hardest part.

Doss describes himself as "the most impatient guy," so he admits that waiting for his chance to emerge as an NFL receiver has been tough. He takes some consolation, though, in the fact that he is learning the nuances of his position from "one of the best ever" in veteran Anquan Boldin.

Doss, the Ravens fourth-round draft pick out of Indiana in 2011, struggled to get on the field as a rookie. He appeared in six games last season, mainly on special teams, and did not have any receptions.

Doss started slowly this season after being hobbled in training camp by a hamstring injury. As the Ravens' No. 4 receiver, he has five catches for 95 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown on a 15-yard catch at Houston.

Coaches have said Doss might have the best hands on the team, and he is widely viewed as the heir apparent to Boldin, 32, at slot receiver. But when you play behind one of the toughest receivers around, there isn't much chance to be the next man up.

Doss said that waiting for his chance has been "on my mind heavy, but I cannot complain at all. I'm blessed to be in this position, and I'm learning from one of the best ever in Anquan Boldin."

"Watching him each and every play, to see what he does as he releases, how he just reads the defense, it's been amazing to sit back and watch him," Doss said.

Boldin, Doss said, physically is "a monster."

That was on full display at San Diego, when Boldin caught a pass, turned upfield and drove his shoulder into Chargers safety Atari Bigby, sending the 211-pound safety literally flying toward the sideline. It was also Boldin who delivered the key block on safety Eric Weddle near the end of Ray Rice's epic fourth-and-29 scamper.

"I love watching him play," Doss said of his mentor. "He's respected all around the league for how physical he is. Everything I'm learning now is from him."

Doss set the Indiana record for kickoff return yardage in a season in 2010 and has served as a return specialist in a limited role with the Ravens. Doss has averaged 4.3 yards on three punt returns filling in for Jacoby Jones and had a 32-yard return called back by penalty against Oakland.

"I'm here to play receiver, but wherever they need me right now I'm willing to fill in, whether it's receiving, special teams, returns, whatever," Doss said. "(I'm) just looking to fill in, and when my name's called make plays for them. "

 

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Despite 4-5 record, Ravens just one game out of final AFC playoff spot

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USA TODAY Sports

Despite 4-5 record, Ravens just one game out of final AFC playoff spot

Their record and performance over the last month may not show it, but the Baltimore Ravens are just one game out of the No. 6 playoff spot in the AFC.

The Kansas City Chiefs (9-1), Los Angeles Chargers (7-2), Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2), New England Patriots (7-3), Houston Texans (6-3), Cincinnati Bengals (5-4), Tennessee Titans (5-4) and the Miami Dolphins (5-5) all rank above the Ravens. But a win Sunday against the Bengals would push the Ravens to the No. 6 spot as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Titans.

Beside remaining in playoff contention, a win Sunday is crucial considering head coach John Harbaugh's job is in question with his team sitting at 4-5, quarterback Joe Flacco is reportedly dealing with a hip injury and the possibility of rookie Lamar Jackson getting his first NFL start. 

After getting blown out 51-14 by the Saints, the Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Monday. Cincinnati's defense ranks last in the league in passing yards allowed (313.3) and total yards allowed (454.6). A rested Ravens team will have to take advantage of the first team in the Super Bowl era to surrender 500 yards in three straight games as they are among five teams within one game of the final wildcard spot. 

Getting shutout by the Bengals this season would give Andy Dalton and co. a two-game lead over the Ravens as well as possessing the tiebreaker. 

According to the New York Times' NFL Playoff Simulator, the Ravens have a 27% chance of making the playoffs heading into Week 11 with their remaining strength of schedule ranking at No. 27. 

After hosting the Bengals on Sunday, the Ravens host the Oakland Raiders (1-7), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) and Cleveland Browns (3-6), but have tough road games against the Atlanta Falcons (4-5), Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) and Los Angeles Chargers (7-2). 

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Robert Griffin III nominated for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA

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Robert Griffin III nominated for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is the team's nominee for the Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. 

Presented annually by USAA and the NFL, the award honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. 

The Robert Griffin III Foundation supports Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), that helps aid those grieving the death of a loved one who served in the military; Luke's Wings, which united wounded warriors, veterans and heroes with their loved ones; and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, that helps ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving when they return home. 

Griffin III was born in Okinawa, Japan where his parents were stationed as U.S. Army sergeants. The quarterback spent time living in Fort Carson, Colorado, Seoul, Korea and Fort Hood, Texas as a military kid. His family then settled in Cooperas Cove, Texas, an hour drive from Baylor University where Griffin III attended college. 

Finalist for the award will be announced in January. The recipient will be recognized at the NFL Honors award show Saturday, Feb. 2, on the eve of Super Bowl LIII.

RGIII's head coach, John Harbaugh, received the honor in 2013. 

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