A season ago, Anquan Boldin spent most of his time on the field as an outside receiver. Sprinkle in some soreness to his knee and it was tough for the now 10-year veteran to feel comfortable all season.

Boldin's a natural slot receiver, a position he's primarily played throughout his career in Arizona and Baltimore. His 6-1, 220-pound frame can out-muscle smaller defensive backs while presenting a mismatch against linebackers in coverage.

With the addition of speedster Jacoby Jones, and a possible emergence of LaQuan Williams and Tandon Doss on the outside, Boldin figures to spend most of his time in three-receiver sets where he's most comfortable: the slot position.

"That's scary, seeing (Boldin) in that slot," Jones said.

Boldin splashed onto the NFL scene in Arizona, where he played opposite of Larry Fitzgerald. While Fitzgerald garnered a lot of attention, the pass-happy Cardinals offenses Boldin played in allowed him to accrue four 1,000-yard seasons. In 2008, the season that Arizona reached the Super Bowl, Boldin finished with a career-high 11 touchdowns.

Since Boldin arrived in Baltimore in 2010, he hasn't crossed the 1,000-yard barrier. In 2011, Boldin finished the regular season with 887 yards and three touchdowns. Boldin hadn't been limited to the end zone like that since 2004, when he only crossed the goal line once.

Boldin also missed the last two regular season games due to a slightly torn meniscus that required surgery. He played through the pain for the first 14 games before undergoing the procedure. The pain subsided after the surgery as he had 10 catches for 174 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games.

At the age of 31, Boldin's not slowing down. He still feels his game is in the same shape as it was during his successful run in Arizona.

"For me, each year I feel like I get better,"  Boldin said. "This year I am a lot healthier but also understanding what the coaches are expecting, what Joe (Flacco) is expecting, on the same page as Joe, seeing what he sees."

A good example of Boldin's work ethic is this: On Monday, players over the age of 30 were given the day off since a physical, short-yardage practice featuring tackling was scheduled. Boldin chose to participate and practiced with the rest of the team.

"It's a little different at receiver," he said. "When we get days off, 30-and-over guys, I kind of stay out there because if you have one receiver that goes down it kind of messes up the whole rotation. So I don't want to put the guys in that situation."

Entering his 10th NFL season, Boldin's the elder statesman of the Ravens' receiving unit. While Jones is the second-oldest at 28, every other receiver on the roster is entering their third NFL season or less.

Boldin's become a de facto coach on the field for the young receivers, and it's aided receivers coach Jim Hostler with his teaching process.

"All the things you could say about how great it is to have a man that can lead men, give direction, show players how it is done, not just physically but mentally, what it takes to play, how to prepare for 16 games plus four — it's outstanding having that example on and off the field," Hostler said.

Boldin said he's healthy and no longer hampered by the torn meniscus he entered training camp with a year ago. While he's 31 years old, he's aware there are those out there who consider him aging for a league like the NFL. He's just not listening.

"Well, I'm glad I don't read too much when it goes to articles and stuff like that," Boldin said. "A lot of that goes over my head because I just don't see it."

Follow Ravens reporter Jason Butt on Twitter: @JasonButtCBS and @CBSSportsNFLBAL.