It sure looks like those that have seen Steve Smith up close and personal are buying into what he can do on the field this season.
Smith has made an impression on his teammates and coaches while developing a rapport with Joe Flacco on offense. If the Ravens can get the kind of production out of Smith as they got with Anquan Boldin, then perhaps the passing game can return to where it was at the end of the 2012 season during the Super Bowl run.
"You definitely see the fire," receiver Torrey Smith told reporters this week at OTAs. "I've known Steve for a couple of years now, but to actually play with him and see the way he works, he takes everything serious, he's very passionate and there are some people ... I guess if you're not used to a guy who's passionate about his job, it comes off as raunchy, but it fits here. There are plenty of guys like that here. He's perfect for us, and we're glad he's here."
He's also impressed offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who will surely be looking for ways to get Smith the ball.
"He brings an edge to practice all the time," Kubiak said. "He challenges people, as far as how you play and how you go about doing [your work]. He's challenged coaches, too. Every good offense that I've been around, I've had a few of those guys saying, ‘Get me the ball, coach!' and that's a good thing, and that's what you want. He works to get the ball, so that's what's impressive to me."
Smith had 745 yards and four touchdowns a year ago with the Panthers, though he had 1,174 yards in 2012. Breaking the 1,000-yard barrier won't be expected with Torrey Smith being the No. 1 receiver and tight end Dennis Pitta being a top target on offense too.
But Smith's impact could be larger, given his physical presence as a blocker and ability to draw defenders as a decoy.
In practice, Smith has made things difficult at times for the Ravens' defense as it is. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees is appreciative of it because it's helping his players get acclimated to what other offenses may throw at them this year.
"I told him a year ago, whenever we played him in the preseason, the first thing I told the DBs in the room was, ‘Look, don't get him mad. He plays a lot harder when he's mad. Just leave him alone. Let a sleeping dog lay,'" Pees said. "The guy is a heck of a player. He's made some grabs out here. He's a tough guy. He's everything advertised. I'm glad he's on our team."