"It's definitely time."

OWINGS MILLS - In perpetual drift on offense, the Baltimore Ravens have responded by calling a few audibles. Besides retaining the same starting quarterback two years in a row for the first time since the Vinny Testaverde era, the Ravens signed proven receivers Frank Sanders and Marcus Robinson. As a four-day passing camp opened Monday, Baltimore hopes it has created enough options for Ravens coach Brian Billick and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh.

Ideally, Sanders and Robinson would work in tandem with Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap, running back Jamal Lewis and wideout Travis Taylor to complicate matters for opposing defensive coordinators and score more points.

"It's definitely time," Taylor said. "We've kind of been treated like stepchildren on the team. We really have to do our part. I think we're going to have a different mindset this year."

Evidence of the Ravens' progress wasn't quite on clear display at passing camp where there's no pass rush to disrupt the offense. Essentially, that makes passing camp an exercise not only consisting of attempts to develop timing and precision, but also one of optimism.

"We're going to put the pressure on ourselves that we need to put some points on the board this year," said quarterback Chris Redman, who's competing with first-round pick Kyle Boller after undergoing back surgery. "We think we can be explosive."

That description hasn't been attached to the Ravens' offense in recent history. Common sights from last season's 7-9 campaign that ended short of the playoffs included:

Too many dropped passes by Taylor and Ron Johnson.

Schemes designed specifically to account for Heap, who still managed to reach the Pro Bowl in his first season as a starter.

Costly miscues by Lewis and departed quarterback Jeff Blake as they combined for 16 fumbles, losing 11.

A tendency toward high interception totals once Blake took over for an ailing Redman.

Beyond Heap and Lewis' glowing totals of 68 receptions and 1,327 rushing yards respectively, this was an offense bereft of much style points. Averaging only 177.9 passing yards and 19.8 points per contest, the Ravens ranked 27th in passing offense and 26th in total offense.

The passing offense numbers were the lowest in the past four seasons as receiver Brandon Stokley was placed on injured reserve and the Ravens were forced to play rookies at the end of the season.

"It's not particularly important to me whether we finish 15th, 12th, eighth, fourth or third because, statistically, does it lead to productivity?" Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "It's got to be better than it was."

Two major reasons why the Ravens believe they're on the verge of improved efficiency: Sanders and Robinson. The former Pro Bowl alternates and 1,000-yard receivers represent a blend of size and sure hands.

"We were very thin at receiver last year," Taylor said. "Now, we're a lot deeper."

Robinson is trying to regain his 1999 form with the Chicago Bears when he caught 89 passes for 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns. Robinson tore his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament in his left knee two seasons ago. Sanders ended last season on injured reserve with a nagging foot injury.

If Sanders and Robinson remain healthy, Redman or Boller have two downfield targets that would potentially eclipse the previous personnel in Baltimore.

"I think we have the guys in place to be an offensive threat," Sanders said. "With Todd, Jamal and Travis having some more weapons around them that makes it a lot easier. I think we have the right pieces to the puzzle."

Although Taylor's 61 catches, 869 yards and six touchdowns were career-highs and led the receiving corps, the remaining receivers on the team from last season - Randy Hymes, Johnson and Javin Hunter - combined for just 21 receptions and one touchdown.

Now, Sanders and Robinson have entered the equation. The bar has definitely been raised. "There's no question in my mind that we're a playoff-caliber team," Billick said. "That's the benchmark that we've set for ourselves. We're very young, but we're a better football team measurably."

Will the increased expectations lead to more offensive productivity?

"You sure hope so," Heap said. "If we don't look better this year something is wrong."

NOTES: Reserve tight end John Jones was on crutches following surgery to remove bone chips in a toe in his left foot. He's expected to recover in time for training camp. … Cornerback Tom Knight showed no ill effects of a strained groin incurred during the first minicamp. … Veterans Ray Lewis and Chris McAlister didn't attend the voluntary camp. … Because of an NFL rule, rookies Terrell Suggs, Ovie Mughelli and Gerome Sapp weren't allowed to attend practice because their respective colleges are still in session. Billick said he expected them to return for some of this week's practice sessions … Billick said he has been impressed with reserve quarterback Anthony Wright's work, but didn't rule out signing a more experienced passer at some point: "We have adequate veteran presence there."

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