Could the Ravens still have success without their best receiver? Can Joe Flacco still be a Super Bowl winning quarterback without his most valuable target?
The only problem with the questions that came with Boldin's departure are that he was never the Ravens' most valuable asset to begin with.
In 2012, second-year wide receiver Torrey Smith asserted himself as the premier receiver in Baltimore, and that won't change moving forward. He headlined Baltimore's passing attack when Boldin was on the team and he still will now that Boldin is no longer a Raven.
During the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl run, Boldin gained nationwide respect as Baltimore's key asset in the playoffs. While Boldin did become Flacco's go-to target in high-pressure situations in each playoff game, Smith quietly averaged 21.2 yards per catch in the postseason.
In the regular season, Smith averaged 17.4 yards per catch, had 49 receptions and eight touchdowns. In comparison, Boldin averaged 14.2 yards per catch, recorded 65 receptions and had just four touchdowns.
Boldin had the same amount of touchdowns in the postseason as he did in the regular season: four. His 22-catch, four-touchdown postseason is something that few NFL receivers could ever do, but that shouldn't overshadow the 15 regular season games he played in 2012 or any other regular season game during his three-year tenure in Baltimore.
Smith proved in 2012 that he is capable of handling the workload of a No. 1 receiver in an NFL offense. With a quarterback in Flacco who excels when using the vertical passing game, Smith is as important to the Ravens' offense as any other player moving forward.
He is one of the fastest receivers in the NFL, which helped him finish fourth in the league in yards per catch by receivers in 2012.
Moving forward, he'll only get better. With Boldin gone, defenses won't change their game plan with Smith. Even when the Ravens had Boldin, Smith still faced each team's top cornerback and often saw double-coverage looks.
Smith even defended himself about his workload, according to NFL.com
Of course, it can't hurt Smith to have Boldin playing alongside him, but in 2013, the narrative for Smith will be the same. He was Flacco's most dynamic and valuable receiver last year and still is.
Now if only Baltimore could figure out who the No. 2 receiver will be.
Kyle Casey is a sports writer and college student living in Baltimore, Md. He maintains his own football site, End Zone Report, and contributes to Russell Street Report, a Baltimore Ravens blog.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Anquan Boldin
- Torrey Smith
- Baltimore Ravens
- the Ravens
- Joe Flacco