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Maclin can be a playmaker if the coaches let him be

Jeremy Maclin can be a playmaker for the Ravens, but the pressure is on the coaching staff to get him in position to be one.

Even before tight end Dennis Pitta suffered another hip injury and was released by the Ravens on an injury waiver, the team was linked to former Chiefs and Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Now, that injury seems to have finally made them pull the trigger on getting the former first round pick. The Ravens announced they have signed Maclin to a two-year contract on Monday afternoon. The terms of the deal have yet to be released.

Maclin will provide some extra explosiveness on the outside for the Ravens, even at 29-years-old after a down 2016 season.

Don’t let his carer-low numbers that led to a released from the Chiefs a few weeks ago fool you; he can still be a playmaker. Maclin caught only 44 passed for 536 yards and two touchdowns last season. All of them were low marks in his career. But that probably had more to do with Alex Smith being his quarterback in a very conservative offense that did not allow him to utilize his speed downfield. With big-armed quarterback Joe Flacco, he can be put in a better position to make those big plays.

Remember, it was only two years ago that he had his second straight 80-plus catch season topping 1,000 yards and with a different team.

Maclin had 85 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014 with the Eagles in 2014, coming off a missed 2013 season. Then, after signing with the Chiefs in free agency, Maclin caught 87 passes for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015.

Maclin can get back to those types of numbers for the Ravens, but the key will be having the offense properly utilize him. The Ravens have notoriously been conservative passing the ball. Last year the team did set franchise records for passing yards, but in a horribly inefficient year passing the ball. Flacco didn’t sling the ball down the field. Instead, he constantly checked down to tight ends and running backs.

And despite making a mid-season change from Marc Trestman to Marty Mornhinweg as the offensive coordinator, the offense did not change. But, with another explosive piece, perhaps it means they’ll have the pieces to force that type of offense that will get the ball down the field more.

One concern with the signing, however, is that it still does not answer the question of who will be the over-the-middle receiver for the Ravens. At 6-foot, 198-pounds with a slight injury history, Maclin won’t be the slot receiver. Last year, the Ravens tried to make Mike Wallace the over-the-middle type of guy, but that did not properly take advantage of his skillset either.

The Ravens may not be finished making moves to bolster their receiving corp. The Ravens may still acquire Eric Decker from the Jets. He would perfectly fit in the offense as the physical over-the-middle type of chain mover and would complete the Ravens offense. But either way, Maclin can become a quality player for the Ravens, if used correctly.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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