Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Snead, Ravens looking to bounce back in 2018

May 03, 2018 - 10:14 am

By Joe Schiller

Heading into the 2018 season, the wide receiver depth chart has taken on a new form for the Baltimore Ravens. General manager Ozzie Newsome has completely revamped the position this offseason. The team’s top three leading receivers from last season (Mike Wallace, Ben Watson, and Jeremy Maclin) are all gone as a slew of new targets have entered the building.

The Ravens inked deals with Michael Crabtree and John Brown early into the free agency period but still coveted a third experienced pass-catcher for Joe Flacco. Willie Snead proved to be the final free agent wide receiver of the overhaul. He inked a two-year, $10.4 million offer sheet with the Ravens as a restricted free agent with the New Orleans Saints.

The 2017 season was one to forget for Snead. A suspension and hamstring injury limited him to eight catches and 92 total receiving yards in seven starts but Baltimore provides a clean slate and a fresh start for the next chapter of his career.

“Absolutely, it’s like a breath of fresh air,” said Snead. “Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I’m like, ‘I can’t believe I’m in Baltimore!’ I have so much respect for this organization, and just the opportunity to be here and possibly be an impact player is like a dream come true. I just think I needed a fresh start.”

A fresh start is beneficial for both parties involved. Despite scoring close to 25 points per game, the Ravens’ passing attack was virtually nonexistent last season. The air attacked averaged a measly 189.4 yards per game and Joe Flacco struggled to find any consistency with his receivers.

Flacco missed the majority of training camp and the entirety of the preseason in 2017 dealing with a back injury. But finally healthy, there’s been increased dialogue about developing chemistry with his new wide receiver core. Snead doesn’t see that becoming a problem this offseason.

“In the coming weeks, I think we’ll be able to mesh really well,” he told reporters. “I think it’s just about staying in the playbook, getting that one-on-one session with Joe and the receivers, and just get the timing down, get into Joe’s head about what he sees and how he wants us to run different routes versus different coverages. That falls on us as receivers and quarterbacks, going and taking that time for ourselves.”

After the offseason overhaul, running back Buck Allen remains as the top pass-catcher from last season. The Ravens have $15.6 million invested into the receiver position this season and Snead will look to find his previous form to elevate an offense that desperately needs production through the air.  

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