Determining the No. 2 wide receiver has been the biggest offseason question for the Baltimore Ravens' offense. Wide receivers coach Jim Hostler provided the answer during the team's mandatory minicamp.
"Jacoby [Jones] right now is the No. 2 guy," Hostler said. "So right now, Torrey [Smith] and Jacoby are starting."
While Jones hasn't won the job, he certainly has the edge "right now." This development shouldn't come as a surprise. The Ravens picked up Jones' $1 million roster bonus on March 16, which was five days after the team traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers. Knowing the Ravens weren't going to pay Boldin $6 million to be a starting receiver, you had to figure they were going to ask Jones to be more than a returner when he's making $4 million in 2013 ($3 million salary plus the roster bonus).
Jones' last competition didn't turn out the way he wanted (he finished third on "Dancing With The Stars"), but he is clearly the most experienced receiver of this second group behind Smith. As the team's No. 3 receiver last season, he caught 30 passes for 406 yards and one touchdown. Jones stepped up with big catches in the playoffs, where he had a game-saving 70-yard touchdown in Denver and 56-yard score in the Super Bowl. Jones' best regular season came in 2010 when he had a career-high 51 receptions.
Hostler also made the point that Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, David Reed, Tommy Streeter and Aaron Mellette are all competing for that second, third and fourth spots on the depth chart. "And it's all real close," Hostler said. “It wasn’t like last year when we had two guys that were the two front-runners."
The No. 2 receiver storyline may be overblown for Baltimore. There's a chance that the Ravens' second wideout won't be among the top four pass-catchers for the Ravens. Smith, tight end Dennis Pitta and running back Ray Rice are good bets to be the top three in receptions. And, in watching the Ravens' offseason workouts, tight end Ed Dickson could rank right behind them.
"Whatever they want me to do, I’m ready to do it," Jones said last month. "I think the whole receiving corps as a whole, we’ve all got to step up and make plays."