By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens are only five games in to the 2013 regular season so it would be unwise to judge the team too much on their performance. Baltimore continues to deal with injuries to some key personnel including TE Dennis Pitta and WR Jacoby Jones. The offense has struggled to get much going on gameday, but they still hold a winning record at 3-2. But if there is one bright spot to the Ravens offense, it’s the emergence of WR Torrey Smith.
Torrey Smith is currently third in the NFL in receiving yards. He’s behind Saints TE Jimmy Graham and Falcons WR Julio Jones. With Julio Jones now on IR with a foot injury he suffered against the Jets, Torrey Smith is sitting pretty in second behind Graham. That is quite an achievement for a receiver widely assumed to be a one trick pony coming out of Maryland.
Opposing teams are starting to get the memo on Smith as they try to take him out of the game any way they can. But as Harbaugh pointed out on Monday, Smith has simply found a way to get the job done.
“[Torrey Smith] gets a lot of double coverage,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh on Monday. “He gets a lot of press [coverage]. He gets a guy pressed and then a guy on top of him – what we call ‘choke’ coverage. And he’s done a good job handling all of those things. He gets off the line of scrimmage against press better than people think. They think they can keep him on the line of scrimmage, but he does a better job releasing than people expect.”
That has been the knock on the Ravens receivers for quite some time. Even during last year’s championship chase, the Ravens had a tough time getting off of press coverage against bigger corners. But Smith has worked on his craft a great deal and is looking for perfection in his third year with the team. He isn’t nearly satisfied with the work he’s put in so far.
“It’s all right,” stated Torrey Smith last week. “Nothing special – I can do a lot better.”
Coach Harbaugh isn’t hearing any of that. “Torrey is special,” Harbaugh stated. “He’s made the kind of plays that make differences for you in a football game. Torrey plays a huge role for us. Call it what you want, but he plays a huge role for us, and he’s a big part of our team.”
How big he can be remains to be seen. Smith is on pace to finish the season with 86 receptions for 1,779 yards. The only thing stopping him from really becoming an X-factor for the team is his inability to get into the end zone. He’s only caught one touchdown pass so far this season. But with the way Smith has been playing, the touchdowns are bound to come.
The Ravens are struggling on offense and yet Smith is excelling. Just think what will take place when the offense gets their act together. The best is yet to come for Torrey Smith.
For more Ravens news and updates, visit Ravens Central.
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.