Ravens TE Heap thrilled about having QB McNair
Todd Heap hasn't stopped smiling since the arrival of his new quarterback.
Months removed from the two-time Pro Bowl tight end's most productive football season, the Baltimore Ravens traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Tennessee Titans for former All-Pro quarterback Steve McNair.
It's not a well-kept secret in NFL circles how fond Heap is of throwing to the tight end.
"Todd Heap is going to love playing with Steve, and Steve is going to love throwing to Todd," said former Titans tight end Frank Wycheck, one of McNair's favorite targets during his tenure in Nashville.
"Yes, Steve has a tendency to look for the tight end and he's going to obviously look Todd's way a lot. I predict big numbers, especially since they have Derrick Mason to throw to and Jamal Lewis to run the football. It should be a balanced offense."
Despite erratic play under center last season divided between quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright, Heap managed to generate his best statistical season. He caught a career-high 75 passes for 855 yards and seven touchdowns. Heap also emerged as the Ravens' all-time leading receiver with 243 career receptions and 2,983 yards.
With McNair, a three-time All-Pro, everything seems to be setting up well for Heap and a Ravens offense that finished 24th in total offense last season.
"I've been watching Steve for a long time and you can see that he does like the tight end, but you can also see that he just goes through his progressions," Heap said. "It's not like he's looking for one guy out there. He's going to hit the open guy. That's really what we need to focus on: taking what the defense gives us, hitting the open guy."
Last season, Heap's body was dotted with fresh surgical scars after undergoing reconstructive ankle surgery in January and an April procedure to repair the labrum in his shoulder, Now, his shoulder no longer clicks incessantly and his repaired ankle lets him make sharp cuts and leap into the air for high passes.
"Todd had a great offseason," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He's thought about nothing but getting ready for the season and that's a plus."