Not to belabor the loss but analysis like this is important in determining what Torrey Smith’s value is on the open market. If he returns he should be paid as an above average No. 2 WR (He’s ranked as the 37th overall WR per Pro Football Focus).
Torrey offers speed, availability and he is a man of great character, which makes him important in the locker room and to his community.
What he doesn’t offer is dependability, precise route running, soft hands and football instincts.
The former Terp has expressed a strong interest in staying in Baltimore. The Ravens should use his potential homesickness to their advantage, encourage Torrey to explore his options as a free agent but before signing elsewhere give the Ravens the right of first refusal.
Smith has been heavily criticized for his effort on the critical interception at the 1:46 mark of the fourth quarter last week in Foxboro. But let’s distribute a little blame.
Joe Flacco had room in front of him to run. He chose not to on that 2nd and 5 play. On the same play he had an option with Marlon Brown running a left to right crossing route from the left slot (see below).
The coach’s film from NFL Game Rewind shows that on the play Owen Daniels ran a seam route on the right occupied two defenders. Brown gained a step on the defender and in front of him was no one else. Flacco could have hit him in stride and Brown would have at least had the first down and no less than 10 yards of YAC.
The strategic offensive approach would have been to milk the clock and run it down as close to the wire as possible. The way Tom Brady was carving up the Ravens defense, leaving too much time would surely have resulted in a field goal forcing overtime or worse.
Speaking of the defense, they are the real culprits in the loss. Dean Pees refused to counter New England’s halftime adjustments and play press coverage. As a result Tom Brady never had to do anything more time consuming than a 3-step drop, which negated the pass rush that had knocked him around in the first half.
Brady’s quick release coupled with soft zone coverage proved to be the Ravens demise.
But then again if only Joe would have…