Newly signed wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. has been the talk of the town both on the field and off since his arrival here in Baltimore during the offseason.
While Smith Sr. may have stolen the headlines with his fiery and stellar play throughout training camp, it’s another Smith who is quietly going about his business as he has since the Ravens selected him in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft.
Torrey Smith maintained a low profile throughout the offseason, working on his craft while looking forward to the 2014 season in a new offense headed by Gary Kubiak.
“I think it’s very balanced. I think that we’re definitely built around running the ball. We’re doing a great job so far. It’s about improvement and getting the timing down on the receiving end,” Smith stated after practice on Monday.
“I think we’re getting better each and every day, and I love it. It’s balanced, and it’s an opportunity for big plays.”
No longer will Smith be utilized as just a speedy deep threat in Kubiak’s new offense. Throughout training camp, Smith has been a viable option in the Ravens short and intermediate passing game as well and Smith couldn’t be happier.
“It’s always a little bit of everything. I think that even since I’ve been here it’s not like they have been sending me on ‘nine’ routes every play,” the former Maryland Terp said regarding his usage in the passing game.
“It’s definitely built, as you can tell, timing-wise, and trying to get you the ball and let you work in space, which I love because I can get the ball quick. It’s a lot of room, and I feel like I can trust my speed to create some big plays.”
Smith certainly has been known for his big play ability. In 2013, Smith , the third-year ranked fifth in the NFL with a 17.4 yards-per-catch average, posting a career-high 1,128 yards on 65 receptions. Smith’s 1,128 yards rank as the second most in Ravens’ single-season history (Michael Jackson – 1,201 in 1996) and were the NFL’s 17th most in 2013.
Despite the team finishing with an 8-8 record and missing the playoffs for the first time during John Harbaugh’s tenure as head coach last season, Smith isn’t looking back at last season. His focus is set on 2014, as he enters the final year of his four-year, $3.39 million rookie contract.
“Last year was what it was. We won the Super Bowl the year before that, so that was cool, but that’s in the past as well,”
“So, we’re going out there … It’s a brand new year, brand new team, and we have a lot of the same veteran guys. But at the end of the day we have to go out there and play 16 games with a whole new team and see how we finish in the end.”
While Steve Smith Sr. will undoubtedly continue to grab the headlines as the team inches closer to week one of the regular season, the younger Smith looks to his counterpart for more learning experiences.
“He has helped a lot. I think anytime you get a different veteran like Steve, it helps us all out, because each person is different,” Smith replied about how Smith Sr’s mentoring has helped the wide receiving unit.
“Each person plays different, and even though people have seen the same things, whether it’s coverages or routes or whatever, not everyone does it the same. So, to learn from him, it has been awesome for all of us.”
Torrey is the wide receiver groups version of Joe Flacco – calm, cool, collected, never flashy, rarely talks trash, and goes about his game quietly, letting his play do the talking.
So as all eyes remain focused on the louder Smith, it’s Torrey who could have all the attention by the end of 2014…