Last week at the Baltimore Ravens final OTA, which was their Passing Camp of their off season umtil Training Camp opens July 29th, I had the great opportunity to stand on the sidelines, snap some photos, like the one above, and conduct a few one-on-one interviews post-practice in the players' locker room. Today's posting includes my interview with Ravens second year wide receiver, Marcus Smith. Smith was a 2008 4th round draft pick out of the University of New Mexico, where he put up great stats, including a senior year with 91 receptions and over 1100 receiving yards. Most people don't know Marcus actually started his collegiate career as a RB, which is probably why he is so good with getting serious YAC (yards after catch) when he has the chance.
Baltimore Beatdown interviewed Marcus soon after the Ravens selected him 106th overall in the 2008 draft and you can flip back to that interview from June 11, 2008 by clicking here. Click below for the audio interview I had with him last week, as he talks about his personal confidence in the increased role in the passing offense that the team is looking for out of him in 2009.
For those of you not interested or able to last the entire 2+ minutes of the spoken interview, here it is transcribed into the written word:
Marcus Smith (MS): Yeah.
BB: About a year ago, when you first were drafted, it’s a big difference now. It appears you didn’t get a lot of playing time, a lot of looks last year. You did get some time last year towards the end of the year but this time it seems to be that you look to be a major part of the offense.
MS: I definitely feel that way, be it with the injuries that came along late in the year. Last year I definitely had to take over some of the practice reps and some of the game reps from Derrick and from Mark from them both being hurt. So now I feel that now, more mentally than anything else, I’ve developed myself as thinking I’m a starter. I’m not going in there as a three or a four receiver. I definitely feel I can contribute on the offensive side of the ball as well as Special Teams.
BB: After you were drafted, I looked at some of your stats from,
MS: Yes sir.
BB: I saw that you had, like 94 catches your senior year, so you’re certainly accustomed to being the focal point of the offense. What I’ve seen now to me, is that I don’t think it was an accident that we did not draft a wide receiver. I think that they felt all along that the core that we have can grow with Joe Flacco and the two of you, being roughly the same age, that you can be a passing combination that could be very well spoken of in this league.
MS: Definitely. Catching 94 balls was a great accomplishment. Breaking the record of Terrence Mathis, a fellow NFL guy, definitely felt pride and privilege to be able to have that opportunity. And now being here with Joe and getting the rapport now that I’m actually taking the reps more now with Derrick and Mark being nicked up from last year and continuing into the off season. I definitely feel that our rapport together is growing. I definitely feel that he trusts me a lot more now than during the season.
BB: And your confidence level from last year, walking in here as a rookie, dressing in the same locker room as people like Ray Rice and Trevor Pryce right next to you. Now you look at the rookies that are coming in now, are you rolling your eyes and saying "that used to be me?"
MS: Definitely. I’m glad it’s only one year. I definitely feel that those guys got a lot to learn, a lot to prove and I definitely feel that the expectations are still high for those guys coming in, expecting to play, contributing on the defensive side of the ball and offensive side of the ball.
BB: When you came in as a rookie, what type of hazing did they do to you?
MS: Nothing really major. We just had to buy a couple things for some of the guys.
BB: No taping to the goalposts or dunking in the ice bath?
MS: No, none of that. Harbaugh basically tries to shun away from little things like that so we definitely, although the o-linemen got it the worst. I think they taped them up and put them in the ice bath. Actually none of the wide receivers or anybody else really got it.
BB: You gonna take your turn with the rookies when you get a chance?
MS: We didn’t get any wideouts. We got two guys that were undrafted who are in here so I definitely feel that we’re gonna pick on them a little bit just because they’re younger and new. I’m not going to give it to them too hard because we didn’t get it too bad.
BB: Well you looked great out there and I wish you a lot of luck, allright?
MS: I appreciate it.
BB: Nice meeting you.
MS: A pleasure
BB: Thank you.