Thursday, July 15, 2010
On the radar: Anquan Boldin's durability
By James Walker
A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.
It's both a blessing and a curse to be a fearless and physical receiver.
The positive is Anquan Boldin plays with a toughness and reckless abandon that should fit in well with the Baltimore Ravens. The negative is Boldin's style has resulted in injuries, and he hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2006.
Will Boldin's health be an issue in Baltimore? The Ravens hope that's not the case, because they will need the three-time Pro Bowler on the field to remain strong Super Bowl contenders.
Baltimore recently traded for Boldin to get over the hump against teams like the high-powered Indianapolis Colts. After losing to Indianapolis in the playoffs last season, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome came to realize that Baltimore cannot always rely on defense in today's NFL. There are too many rule changes favoring the offense and too many great quarterbacks leading playoff teams.
That's where Boldin comes in. His job is to become the No. 1 target for third-year player Joe Flacco, who is trying to become one of the NFL's better quarterbacks. Boldin's presence also should take some of the pressure off Pro Bowl tailback Ray Rice and the running game.
The Ravens sought out Boldin's medical records before finalizing the trade with the Arizona Cardinals. So there is some concern. Last postseason Boldin dealt with an injured left ankle and in 2008 he took a crushing blow to the head against the New York Jets that required facial surgery.
Baltimore's best-case scenario is that Boldin left his history of ailments in Arizona. His style of play won't change, but perhaps his luck will.