In just his third season, Torrey Smith has found himself as Baltimore's receiving group's leader.
It wasn't something expected, necessarily. He was particularly shocked when the Ravens traded Anquan Boldin to San Francisco this offseason. But it's a position he's embraced since it came to him.
And it's something he's not taking for granted, either.
"I've always been driven," Smith said. "I never needed anybody to motivate me. I've always wanted to be better. No one's harder on me than me. I'm my biggest critic."
Smith may be a leader on offense. But his coach isn't looking to tag him as "the guy," a label fans and media like to place on players at certain positions.
"I know there’s a narrative out there about all that No. 1, No. 2 [and] No. 3 stuff, but Torrey will be the same player as he was last year, only better," Harbaugh said. "Of course, Anquan won’t be there, but other guys will be. He’s gotten better and improved and done a great job, like he always does. And, he’s having an excellent camp. Torrey is an explosive, big-time receiver, and people are going to have to deal with him."
At the same time, Smith will be the primary option at receiver on offense. He's been a nightmare for the Ravens' cornerbacks in camp of late, and that's not meant to be a slight to that particular defensive position group.
Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith and Chykie Brown have all had solid camps, showcasing their aggressiveness and ball skills at the cornerback, with Lardarius Webb limited in practices. But Smith, so far in training camp, looks to be emerging into a top flight receiver.
"I have high expectations for myself," Smith said. "That's why I bring my hard hat to work every day."
Smith's big play capability could open up the offense, even with Dennis Pitta sidelined for the season with a dislocated and fractured hip. As Harbaugh pointed out, if defenses game plan toward stopping Smith, it could open up other areas of the field for quarterback Joe Flacco to throw to.
"If [defenses target Smith], they have to deal with a guy on another side," Harbaugh said. "Last year, it was Anquan, but this year, it’s going to be Jacoby [Jones] or Deonte [Thompson] or Tandon [Doss] or whoever it is. They’re going to be dealing with a really talented guy on the other side, too -- different than Anquan, but still a talented guy that’s going to be a problem for them."
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