To become a fully functional offense, the duo will have to become a threesome.
Ravens coach Brian Billick acknowledged that leaning on the combination of tight end Shannon Sharpe and receiver Qadry Ismail can only elevate the passing game so much, and eventually, maybe even Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, a bona-fide third receiving threat will have to emerge.
The likely candidate is Travis Taylor, who hopes to use his ordinary numbers thus far to hoodwink teams into an extraordinary stretch run.
"Come playoff time, everybody looks at stats to see who is doing what," Taylor said. "They are going to start to double Qadry and put a safety over on Shannon with a linebacker. It will be my time to step up and make plays."
If teams do look at the stats, they will see Sharpe and Ismail account for about 47 percent of the Ravens' completions this year. Ismail could easily surpass the 1,000-yard receiving mark Sunday, while Sharpe's 63 catches lead all tight ends.
Taylor, starting opposite Ismail, has 33 catches for 432 yards and two touchdowns, moderate numbers for a No. 2 receiver. But he and third receiver Brandon Stokley, who has 21 catches for 271 yards and two touchdowns, have not given the added punch to the passing game.
Taylor has just two catches over the past two games and has not been in the end zone since the loss at Green Bay on Oct. 14. Stokley, meanwhile, caught a touchdown pass last week but is still battling a knee injury sustained earlier this season and is limited to around 20 plays a game.
If the Ravens can get major vertical production from Taylor, who plays nearly every snap but has just four catches over 20 yards, quarterback Elvis Grbac has a distinct idea of what that would do for the offense.
"It will put us over the edge," Grbac said. "It will do the things that we need in our offense to really balance up. Because you can see it's edging to the point where a lot of teams are rotating to either Qadry's side or Shannon's side. So we've got to get another guy involved, and Travis is one of those guys that can step up. To get to the playoffs and that next level from there, Travis will be a big part of it.
"We understand the last couple of games Travis hasn't really been in a big part of it. But to do what we need to do in the playoffs, he is going to need to be a big part of it and have to make plays for us."
It starts, though, with Grbac focusing more on Taylor or Stokley. Grbac has established rapports with Ismail and Sharpe, whom have been in the league nine and 12 years, respectively, but it has been slow coming for the other younger receivers.
"You're naturally going to do that," Billick said of Grbac's propensity to look for Ismail and Sharpe. "You're going to lean toward the guys that have been there and have those abilities. I don't think he is not looking for the other guys. If they are there, they're there, he'll take them. But naturally you are going to lean on those guys that have been there consistently and have that veteran presence."
Lean on, but not zero in on.
"I don't think there is a lack of confidence in any of them," offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said. "I think a lot of time [Grbac's] read is taking him to [Ismail and Sharpe]. We obviously have a lot of respect for what those guys can do, so we scheme things to try and get them the ball.
"I think there are going to be occasions where Travis has to be used more and Brandon has to be used more."
Such as Sunday where a diverse passing attack could play a key role in attacking a good Bengals' defense.
Cincinnati is ranked ninth in the league defending the pass. No team has passed for more than 200 yards against the Bengals in the past six games.
But the secondary is a little banged up, with starting cornerback Mark Roman out for the game with a broken middle finger.
Robert Bean will move into the starting lineup, which could create a favorable matchup with Stokley on a third cornerback.
Stokley is looking to duplicate last year's performance when he was quiet for most of the season before making seven catches for 91 yards and a memorable Super Bowl touchdown during the playoffs.
"I'm feeling real comfortable right now in the offense and the situation I'm in, and that is how it was feeling last year at this time," Stokley said. "I'm really excited about these last few games and looking forward to making some plays.
"I don't know what it is. Toward the end of the year, I just feel really good about myself. When I'm out there, it feels like everything is just flowing right.
"I want to have a big impact at the end of the year. It might not have started the way that I wanted, but it can always finish the way I want."
Like Stokley, Taylor can also make a big impact heading into the closing stretch of the season.
"Both just have to elevate their game," Billick said. "Brandon has to be a little more physical down the field in his ability to deal with that physical pressure. Travis, just his general game. He's got to be able to make more plays down the field, more deep balls.
"We've got a presence at tight end. Qadry certainly has proven himself on the one side, and you need a consistent go-to guy to balance that off."
Next for Ravens
Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals
Site: PSINet Stadium
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)
Line: Ravens by 11