Torrey Smith Leading The Way For The Ravens

Posted on December 02, 2013 by Slater Jackson

Photo Credit: USA Today

Baltimore Ravens 3rd year wideout Torrey Smith has taken over the mantle of no.1 receiver with great success this season. Through 12 games Smith has proven that he is much more than a deep threat as he has shouldered the load of the Ravens passing game. Smith has already amassed 54 catches for 952 yards and 4 touchdowns, eclipsing his yardage and receptions personal bests. What makes this even more astounding is that Smith has been productive whilst the Ravens offense as a whole has been stuck in the mud for the first half of the season.

Smith has been the lone bright spot for Baltimore as his blazing speed is now accompanied with a polished route tree. Smith is being asked to do more in the offense and his off-season work is evident as he is gaining separation in man coverage and is now adept at finding the soft spot in the zone. As the Ravens offensive scheme has so far been based on lateral and underneath routes, Smith has had little opportunity to break off his usual big plays. What he has managed to do is turn short passes into long gains as he finds some wiggle room between defenders and burns up the sideline. Quarterback Joe Flacco is enjoying the luxury of having Smith running shorter routes and giving him a genuine threat at all levels of the defense. On occasion though Flacco and Smith have hooked up by doing what comes naturally as Joe rockets the ball deep to Smith down the sideline.

When comparing Smith’s progression through his career with other elite receivers in the NFL such as; Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant and A.J.Green there are great similarities. Looking at their first 2 seasons in the league there is little separating Smith from these elite receivers. Smith and Dez Bryant have almost identical numbers through their first 2 seasons and whilst Green and Johnson have spiked up and down in receptions and yardage, Smith is on a consistent incline.

Smith is quickly becoming a leader in the locker room as his hard working and unselfish demeanour has become infectious to his teammates. His poignant comments to the press and his ever praising attitude about his fellow teammates are a testament to the high character person he is. Baltimore was criticized earlier in the season for not having enough leaders in the locker room and whilst comments like this could have swirled and caused a rift, it was Smith who was the voice of reason that calmed the swell. Smith spoke out to the press about the comments by making a case for the high character players on the team and how close the team and coaches are with each other.

Smith has not found the end zone often this season until a recent philosophy change has seen Smith given opportunities in the red zone which he has converted. A more balanced offense from the Ravens has given Smith more looks at one on one coverage for him to take advantage of and get himself in the end zone more. With 4 games left in the season with a logjam of AFC teams looking for playoff spots, Smith may just be the man to help push the Ravens into the post season. Evan though he has broken his previous marks for receptions and yardage, Smith is more concerned with winning and doing all he can to help the Ravens succeed. Smith has all the physical tools to be an elite receiver in the NFL and his work ethic has put him in a position this season to make the leap. Smith’s combination of size, speed and offensive savvy have him making a mark on opposing defenses and the league is standing up and taking notice of this future superstar in the NFL.    

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